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Florida Drug Defense Attorney > Blog > Drug Crime Defense > Florida Benzodiazepine Laws

Florida Benzodiazepine Laws


Prescription drug abuse has become such a widespread problem that laws have gone into effect to curb the problem.  The days of Florida’s pill mills belong to the legendary past; today’s teenagers know the shady strip mall pain clinics of the early part of this century only from hearing their parents talk about them.  There are now increased restrictions for doctors, pharmacists, and patients, but as the persistence of the Florida shuffle shows, new laws cannot cure existing addictions.  Most of the resources dedicated to preventing new cases of addiction to prescription drugs have focused on prescription opioids.  While opioids cause more fatal overdoses than any other kind of drug, they are not the only kind of prescription drug frequently sold and consumed illegally.  Benzodiazepines are also frequently abused alone or in combination with other drugs and account for many drug arrests.  If you are facing criminal charges for illegal possession of benzodiazepines, contact a Florida drug offense attorney.

Common Types of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines have a wide variety of medical uses, including treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal.  They became widespread in the 1980s as a replacement for barbiturates, the much more dangerous category of drugs which had been in common use for decades.  These are some commonly prescribed benzodiazepines used in the United States:

  • Diazepam, also known as Valium, used to treat anxiety
  • Flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol, used in anesthesia
  • Alprazolam, also known as Xanax, an anxiety medication
  • Lorazepam, also known as Ativan, used to treat seizures

The Dangers of Benzodiazepines

As recreational drugs go, benzodiazepines are not the most dangerous in terms of risk of overdose; for example, Valium and Xanax are short-acting.  When combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, however, the risk of death from respiratory depression increases.  When you buy prescription drugs off the Internet, you can never be sure what the pills contain; you might think that you are buying Xanax, but the pills could actually contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

It is not safe to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of benzodiazepines.  Therefore, you can get arrested for DUI if you drive after taking Xanax, Valium, or another benzodiazepine, even if you are taking the drug as it was prescribed for you.

Benzodiazepines and the Controlled Substances Act

Most benzodiazepines are Schedule IV controlled substances, meaning that they are prescription drugs with accepted medical uses and also with a substantial potential for abuse.  The only exception is Rohypnol, which is a Schedule III controlled substance, so the penalties for possessing it are more severe.  This is due in part to the fact that Rohypnol is often used to incapacitate others, so possession of Rohypnol may indicate intent to commit sexual assault or some other form of intentional harm to another person.

Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Criminal Charges for Possession of Benzodiazepines

A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for possession of prescription benzodiazepines.  Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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