Letter to the Editor
Don’t Do It
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 10 page 46-46

It’s nice to see that Dr. Robin Clark’s findings in your March 5 issue regarding benzodiazepine prescriptions for patients diagnosed with substance use disorders reflect my anecdotal observations in the office. It amazes me that the same physicians who understand that those with alcoholism must never imbibe alcohol will prescribe what amounts to solidified alcohol to these individuals. The results of that prescribing practice represent much of the caseload for me and my colleagues specializing in addiction treatment.

Dr. Clark was quoted as saying that "we are not suggesting that [benzodiazepines] should never be prescribed for people with substance use disorders." Why not? The risks of prescribing sedatives to those with sedative-use disorders are well known, the benefits are short-lived and minor in comparison, and there are many excellent alternatives. Other than in very rare circumstances, benzodiazepines should never be prescribed to individuals with substance use disorders.

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