This is what I want you to know:
— Heroin would have been the primary drug in Mr Hoffman’s last cocktail. Not Valium. One of them is famous for killing people via OD and the other is Valium.
— “Benzodiazepine” is not pronounced with an eeee sound in the middle. No, not even in this neck of the woods.
— Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine, not the other way around. It is in the benzodiazepine class. Others in this class include Ativan (lorazepam) and Klonopin (clonazepam). In fact, Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a benzodiazepine. You know, roofies?
— All of these drugs are different. In terms of potency, Xanax (alprazolam) tends to beat Ativan tends to beat Valium. All three are known for their anxiolytic action, which means people can use them during a panic attack. They are also good anticonvulsants, and can behave as mild mood stabilisers; this is more true of Klonopin, in my experience.
— See those last three words? Yeah. What you may not know is that I spent the last ten weeks of my junior year and my entire senior year carrying Ativan along with my books because I was still prone to panic attacks. It would have been useless kept in the nurse’s office. At no point did I abuse it. At no point did I sell it. I obtained it legally, by prescription, from either a psychiatrist or my general practitioner.
— It is really very hard to get benzodiazepines legally. It is worse when you have no health insurance and cannot keep a prescriber. When you are almost out, yes, you’re going to do everything you can to get more… because withdrawal is sheer hell, and oh yes you still need the drug. Genuine need for a substance is not abuse; this is lost on paranoid clinicians who pretty much have to see you have a panic attack in front of them. (And my first one did.)
— Did I mention withdrawal is sheer hell? Because it is.
— So if I had a teenager who stole my meds, and I found out, said teenager would probably turn himself in to the police because Mama’s wrath is worse. Episodes like the one at Greece Arcadia High School make it harder for us to get the medications we need. They probably make it harder for kids who need rescue meds to get permission to carry them (because liability or some such crap).
— Do not be that person who makes life harder for people with epilepsy and panic disorder. Just don’t.