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Benzodiazepines (or benzos) are a drug used to treat mental health issues like anxiety. They can make you feel calm, improve sleep and make you feel more relaxed. They can also make you feel drowsy, uncoordinated, and confused.

Benzos are usually prescribed by a doctor, but are also available on the black market. Bromazolam is a type of benzo that we’ve been seeing a bit more of. It’s potent and has been linked to overdoses overseas, particularly when used with other depressants – like opioids or alcohol.

Here’s what you need to know to be safer with bromazolam.

What’s really in your benzo?

Unlike pills you get from your doctor, there’s no guarantee that the benzos you buy from the black market are what they say they are. They could be sold as diazepam but actually contain bromazolam.

Bromazolam and other ‘novel’ (new) benzos are likely to be much stronger than the benzos that you can get prescribed.

That means your “Xanax” from the darkweb might be a lot stronger than you think. Drug checking can help you find out what’s actually in your benzo. It’s free, legal and confidential.

Dosing benzos

If you know what benzo you have, you can look up info on dosage. You can feel the effects from some strong benzos at less than a milligram.

The Tripsit benzo calculator can help you convert doses between different types of benzos. Remember that everyone reacts differently to different drugs, so treat online info with caution and start with a very low dose.

Crush, mix, measure

Both prescribed and illicit benzos are mixed with non-drug fillers and binders before being pressed into pills. For prescribed benzos, the amount is even across the whole pill - but this isn’t the case for illicit ones. Often the benzo is not evenly mixed into the pill.

One side of the pill could contain much more of the drug than another side. We’ve seen this a lot when we’re testing pills at drug checking.

To reduce the chances of uneven dosing, crush, mix and measure your pills or powders. You could also try volumetric dosing to make dosing more consistent and easier to measure. PsychonautWiki and Tripsit have some helpful guidance on volumetric dosing.

Try not to take more

Bromazolam can stay in your body for more than 12 hours. You might not feel intoxicated, but your body may still be processing the drug. Taking more, even if you feel sober, could put you at risk of overdose.

Benzos can give you delusions of sobriety – meaning you might think you’re more sober than you actually are. They also affect your memory, meaning it can be hard to recall how much you’ve had. Keep tabs on this by writing down your dose and time in a notepad or on your phone.

Mixing benzos

Benzos can be deadly when taken in combination with other depressants, like alcohol or ketamine. These drugs can interact and cause your breathing to stop or your heartbeat to slow down dangerously.

We strongly recommend not mixing benzos with other depressants.

Can benzos stop a bad trip or save me from a comedown?

Some people take benzos towards the end of a trip, after the peak of taking another drug or during a comedown.

However, benzos could interact dangerously with whatever else you’ve taken, even if you’re no longer feeling the effects. You also run the risk of taking too much, especially if you don’t know what benzo you have.

If you’re having a hard time sleeping or relaxing after taking drugs, our Drug Info pages have lots of tips for dealing with comedowns from different drugs

If you’re experiencing very distressing symptoms, such as paranoia, psychosis, thoughts of suicide, call 111. If needed, ambulances or doctors may be able to administer benzos in a controlled setting where they can monitor how you respond.

Benzo tolerance and dependence

You can build up a tolerance to benzos quickly, meaning you need to take more to get the same effect. This is more of an issue with stronger illicit benzos, as people don’t often actually know how much they are taking.

Benzos can also cause dependence relatively quickly. To reduce the chances of developing dependence, it is best to take long breaks (more than a week) between using benzos.

If you’ve been using benzos regularly, it can be dangerous and sometimes deadly to stop cold turkey. Seek medical advice for how to do this safely and check out our benzos page for more on how to cut down more safely.

Self-medicating

Some people use benzos from the black market to help with anxiety, panic attacks or insomnia. The problem is the unpredictable nature of illicit benzos – some batches can be stronger or can be a different drug entirely, or even be mixed with other drugs.

If you can, have a conversation with your doctor to find a treatment that can work for you without the risk. You have the right to be treated without judgement, and you won’t be in trouble with the law for telling a doctor about your use. 

If you are struggling to stop using illict benzos, some alcohol & drug services can move you from these benzos to prescription ones, like diazepam, to help you taper your dose more safely.  You can speak with your doctor about getting a referral to the Community Alcohol and Drugs Service, or contact the service directly.

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