Who Uses Tranquillizers?
The benzodiazepine tranquillizers are among the most prescribed psychoactive drugs in the world. Women, as a group, use tranquillizers more frequently than men, and older adults are more likely than young adults to use these drugs. A national survey conducted in 1996/97 found that 2.7% of all Canadians and 1.9% of Albertans aged 15 years or older had used tranquillizers in the past year. In a 1997 study of Ontario students in Grades 7 to 13, 2.1 % reported medical use and 1.7 % reported non-medical use in the previous 12 months. Valium is the tranquillizer most widely available on the illicit market. In larger doses, it can produce a degree of pleasurable intoxication attractive to street drug users. Valium is also popular with narcotic addicts and is taken by users of amphetamines or cocaine users to help them relax or sleep. The numerous other benzodiazepine tranquillizers are also abused to varying degrees. In 1998/99, 2% of adult (18 years or older) clients admitted to AADAC report