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Z Drugs

Are also known as Zimmos, zolpidem, zopiclone and zaleplon. They are generally prescribed as sleeping tablets.  Heroin addicts to help them sleep and numb pain, especially during heroin droughts, use these powerful sleeping pills. 

Z drugs in Ireland:  

  • Diazepam (e.g. Valium®)  
  • Clobazam (Frisium®)  
  •  Bromazepam (Lexotan®)  
  • Benzodiazepines used for severe anxiety  
  • Zolpidem (e.g. Stilnoct®)  
  • Zaleplon (Sonata®)  
  • Zopiclone (e.g. Zimovane®)  
  • Alprazolam (e.g. Xanax®) 
  • Chlordiazepoxide (e.g. Librium®)  
  • Clonazepam (Rivotril®)  
  • Lorazepam (Ativan®)  

 These drugs should only be taken for a short period of time (maximum of two to four weeks) to help cope with a crisis, or if taken for sleeplessness they should not be taken for more than one night in three (short-term use only).  

Effects: 

  • Drowsiness and falls 
  • Impairment in judgement and dexterity 
  • Increased risk of experiencing a road traffic accident 
  • Forgetfulness, confusion, irritability, aggression, and excitability.
  • Depression 
  • Reduction in coping skills 
  • Tolerance, dependence and addiction. 

In Dublin 15, under 18 year olds were reported to use cocaine powder, benzodiazepines and z drugs. Young people from the age of 15 were reported to engage in polydrug use, which includes taking Z drugs in conjunction with weed.  

Service providers reported that z drugs have always been an issue in Dublin 15 but an increasing problem for the last few years. There is an increase in the use of street and imported tablets in Blanchardstown. Treated drug users reported a range of different types were available in the community and included the following: 

  • Z-drugs: zopiclone, zolpidem and zimovane. 

The majority of these tablet users were polydrug users, in treatment for another drug as the main problem drug. These drugs included heroin, methadone, crack cocaine and cannabis.   

The qualitative data reported that there are problem tablet users in the community who do not present to treatment services. These problem users were from a range of ethnic backgrounds.   

Withdrawal symptons:  

Consult your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. They can give advice on the rate at which you should reduce the dose of the drug and help you to consider other ways of dealing with your worries/sleeping problems  

  • Aches and pains are very common during withdrawal from Z drugs. Doctors can prescribe painkillers to reduce these effects.  
  • Stomach and bowel problems, such as diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome are very common during withdrawal and can be very distressing.  
  • Hot flushes and shivering: The feeling of burning and extreme heat (sweating) is also common. In contrast, others suddenly feel cold.  
  • Panic attacks are very common symptoms of withdrawal and understanding the cause is important.  
  • Sinus problems: Many people suffer from inflamed mucous membranes which causes severe sinus discomfort.  
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares may occur during withdrawal. This may be a good sign as before withdrawal most people do not dream (drug-induced sleep is ‘dead’ sleep). 
Last modified onWednesday, 06 September 2017 14:43
More in this category: « Hallucinogens Benzodiazepines »

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