Klonopin is a brand name used for the pill called clonazepam. It was introduced to the market as a prescription drug for epileptic seizures in 1975. Since then, Klonopin has become a preferred option for drug abusers from Wall Street to Hollywood.
Klonopin belongs to a narcotic group of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which were primarily prescribed by physicians for various neurological disorders, such as anxiety, insomnia and epilepsy. However, "practice of medicine exception", an amendment in federal drug control laws has allowed physicians and psychiatrists to prescribe the medications for a variety of other disorders like weight control problems, panic attack, etc., which is one of the major reasons behind the increasing trend of Klonopin addiction.
Casual drug abusers and alcoholics are most likely to become familiar with Klonopin during their detoxification procedures and therapies, because it is sometimes used to control acute withdrawal symptoms. Most interestingly, Klonopin takes much longer to pass through your system and metabolize as compared to other benzodiazepines. For that reason, a patient is theoretically not required to take it regularly. On the other hand, if you increase your dosage to experience the euphoria or high it gives you, the addictive effects of Klonopin accumulate pretty quickly and can be devastating. It is clearly specified on the label that this drug is only recommended for short-term usage, mostly seven to ten days. Although Klonopin is rarely reported as the main cause of drug overdose, it shows up with large frequency in fatalities from combined drug intoxication.
Drug Enforcement Agency has reported that Klonopin normally acts as a hypnotic when taken in high doses, an anxiolytic when taken in moderate doses and a sedative when taken in low doses. Klonopin is the most frequently prescribed drugs of all benzodiazepines that affect your central nervous system. Being so widely used, Klonopin is reflected in addiction statistics including the following:
1. According to a national survey carried out by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 7 million American citizens were present non-medical psychotherapeutic drug (Klonopin) users. The number has substantially increased by 12% in comparison with 6.2 million in 2008.
2. The same national survey showed that the non-medical, self-prescribed usage of prescription drugs, specifically Klonopin, was second to marijuana abuse. This indicates that, on average, approximately 6,600 individuals (12 years or older) abuse a pharmaceutical drug including Klonopin every day for non-medical purposes.
3. According to a study conducted in order to assess the magnitude and evolution of Klonopin abuse between 2001 and 2006, a significant increase of 82% has been observed in the number of people (mostly men) who had a delivery of Klonopin.
4. The OPPIDUM survey conducted during 2006 indicates that Klonopin abuse liability is 23% of the illegal acquisition, and it is in second rank after flunitrazepam.
5. Klonopin is reported to be among the top 12 substances of abuse.
In the past few years there have been numerous deaths cause by a lethal combination of Klonopin and other drugs. This medication has caused many early deaths of various otherwise healthy celebrities. Margaux Hemingway, a famous actress, committed suicide in 1996 by overdosing on barbiturate-Klonopin cocktail. Only weeks later, another Hollywood personality, Don Simpson, died from an overdose of benzo (Klonopin). Klonopin was among the eleven different prescription drugs found in the body of Anna Nicole Smith, a Playboy centerfold model, in 2007.
Klonopin has in fact affected more than just troubled celebs. Many soldiers who returned from Iraq with various post-traumatic stress disorders died in their sleep due to a psych-med cocktail containing Klonopin, Seroquel (an antipsychotic) and Paxil (an anti-depressant).
Visits to the hospital emergency rooms due to different benzos, particularly Klonopin, are three times greater than visits caused by illegal drugs. This trend is in fact increasing with time. Data published by "Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration" in 2006 indicated that prescription drugs were the number 2 reason for ER admission for drug abuse, which was slightly behind the illegal substances like cocaine and heroin. However, the recent surveys show that benzos (especially Klonopin) are responsible for most drug related hospital visits. Klonopin addiction has undoubtedly become a dangerous problem that needs attention.