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Anxiety Drugs Prescribed to Almost 40,000 Infants and Toddlers in the US

Over 1,000,000 kids between ages 0 and 5 are being prescribed with psychiatric drugs on a yearly level. Anxiety drugs are picking up the pace and growing in numbers of prescriptions every year.

Mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has recently obtained statistics from IMS health, a drug market research firm which published these numbers.

One of the most astounding statistics found is the near 300 percent increase in the drugs prescribed to babies and toddlers under the age of two in the last 15 years.

The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies benzodiazepines as schedule IV controlled substances because of the potential for abuse, addiction and diversion.

This group of drugs is also known as “benzos,” “sedatives” and “tranquilizers” and has limited approval for the pediatric population.

The FDA approves the use of both Diazepam (Valium) and Lorazepam to those under 18 in certain cases such as epilepsy, insomnia and seizures. These drugs are also often used in post-operative and intensive care sedation.

Here are some of the most shocking numbers found in the study mentioned above:

  • 4,404,360 kids on ADHD Drugs age 0-17 years
  • 1,080,168 kids on psychiatric drugs age 0-5 years
  • 1,444,422 kids on antidepressants age 13-17 years
  • 2,132,625 kids on anti-anxiety drugs age 0-17 years

From these number, it is more than obvious than there is a serious problem with kids being prescribed drugs for anxiety and similar psychiatric disorders.

Vice chairman of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Dr. Harris Stratyner says that “The two most dangerous drugs to detox off of are benzos and alcohol”.

Overdose potential for benzos is high, accounting for thousands of deaths every year in the United States. Since 2000, there has been a 500 percent increase in the overdose death rate, with about 9,000 benzo-related deaths reported in 2015.

Further dangers comes when mixing opioids with benzos:

Benzos are particularly lethal when combined with opioids, accounting for about 8,000 of these deaths, and around a third of all fatal overdoses involved some form of benzodiazepine.

Is there an easy way to end this opioid-anxiety drug fueled crisis? Yes, and it’s cannabis.

Could cannabis replace anxiety drugs?

Since benzos “have not shown efficacy in anxiety disorders in double-blind placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents,” according to Psychiatric Drugs in Children and Adolescents Basic Pharmacology and Practical Applications is there room to give a go to cannabis products?

Medical journal Psychopharmacology published findings from a study on blunted stress reactivity in chronic cannabis users.

The goal of this study was to examine the effects of an acute stress manipulation on subjective stress. Forty cannabis users and 42 non-users were randomly assigned to complete either the stress or no stress conditions of the Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST).

Participants of this study gave their baseline subjective stress ratings before, during, and after the stress manipulation experiments. Cortisol levels, cannabis cravings and other symptoms of withdrawal were also measured.

Here is the conclusion of the study:

Chronic cannabis use is associated with blunted stress reactivity. Future research is needed to determine whether this helps to confer resiliency or vulnerability to stress-related psychopathology as well as the mechanisms underlying this effect.

Given that we’re seeing a terrible epidemic and a horrific pill-popping trend in the US and Canada, we surely hope that this study and more similar studies will push the focus of the public towards the problem with anxiety drugs and opioids.

Read more: Can weed help against opioids?

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