Benzodiazepine and Stimulant Prescriptions Before Overdose in Youth

Greta Bushnell, Hillary Samples, Tobias Gerhard, Diane P. Calello, Mark Olfson

Publication Date: 07/01/2022

In 2019, 4777 youth died of a drug overdose in the United States. Seven-hundred and twenty-seven youth died of overdoses involving benzodiazepines (BZDs) and 902 from overdoses involving psychostimulants. Opioid-related overdose deaths frequently involve other substances, and in youth, stimulants and BZDs are the most commonly involved substances. Overdoses can involve prescription drugs accessed through medical prescriptions or through illicit means. Among persons aged 18 to 25 years, 5.8% report past-year prescription stimulant misuse and 3.8% prescription BZD misuse.