Causes for concernCan someone give me a summary of the essential causes for concern associated with the use of either barbiturates or benzodiazepines?  Include comments on the societal...

Causes for concern

Can someone give me a summary of the essential causes for concern associated with the use of either barbiturates or benzodiazepines?  Include comments on the societal implication of toxicity factors linked to a heavy dosage.

Expert Answers
marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the greatest causes for concern associated with any drug is acquired dependency (addiction) and possible side effects.  For years, barbiturates were called "downers" because they have a sedative effect upon the body.  They were used to control anxiety attacks, convulsions, depression, insomnia, and pain.  Then, a few years ago, the benzodiazepines came along.  They do pretty much the same things as barbiturates, only better.

Both drugs are not without their side effects, and acute dosages can lead to fatalities.  Even if a person survives an overdose, severe kidney failure can result.  People using these drugs appear more prone to commit suicide.  The societal implication of this is to limit the usage of these types of drugs.  Medical personnel don't want to eliminate them entirely as they still have some positive therapeutic properties. 

Any drug that is mind-altering, stimulating, relaxing, or exciting is tagged by people looking for a thrill or an escape.  But, both barbiturates and benzodiazepines impair the motor and cognitive skills of their user, making such people unable to effectively and safely operate machinery, make rational decisions, and be responsible.  Here are some possible side effects of using these drugs:  drowsiness, lethargy, respiratory or cardiac arrest, suicidal thoughts, renal failure, impaired vision, clumsiness, loss of memory, dizziness, impairment of eye/hand coordination, lightheadness, fatigue, and irritability. 

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One social problem associated with any kind of significantly mind-altering drug (such as alcohol) is the possibility of fatal accidents, especially fatal accidents in which innocent people are killed.  Car accidents are the obvious examples. In these accidents, drug users can not only kill themselves but can kill or permanently maim others. We have also all read or heard of stories in which people responsible for the safety of many others (such as subway train operators) have allowed accidents to happen because they were using drugs.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The societal implications of such heavy drug use are incredibly negative. Often addicts are driven into crime in various ways to support their habit and this clearly has a massive knock-on impact in terms of law and order and the drain that such crime causes on police services. Also, the heavier the drug use, the harder it is for rehabilitation to occur, so the drain on such public services is also acute.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One societal implication related to a cause for concern over benzodiazepine use is that the short term tolerance reduces the efficacy of relieving serious health problems like insomnia and severe anxiety through prescription benzodiazepine.