Claims lethal ‘fake Valium’ market in Dundee sparked by prescription meds

 Dave Barrie, from the charity We Are With You, said many people became addicted as 'benzos' such as diazepam, commonly known as Valium, were issued to treat anxiety disorders.

Data obtained by The Courier shows GP prescriptions for benzodiazepines in Dundee have decreased in recent years, amid increasing evidence they can cause addiction and physical harm if taken long-term.

Mr Barrie said once the drugs became popular but less accessible, dealers stepped in to provide cheaper and much stronger varieties such as etizolam, now known as 'street' or 'fake' Valium.

The latest figures show the drug, chemically related to benzos but officially a thienodiazepene, was implicated in 41 of the 66 deaths recorded in Dundee in 2018 (62%).

It is the most common substance found in drug-related deaths in the city, more so than methadone or heroin and but not implicated in any deaths until 2014.

Mr Barrie said some of those now hooked on the street sedative would have been prescribed in the past.

"Moving away from prescribing these drugs was a gradual thing over the last five years probably," he said.

"They were known as mummy's little helpers and were used to treat anxiety and sleep problems.

"Now, much of the guidance suggests they are highly addictive with quite serious side effects, including damage to brain function if taken over many years."

Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request to NHS Tayside shows between 2013/14 and 2017/18, prescriptions of benzos in Dundee dropped 17% from 37,194 to 30,755.

Read article from The here