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A new illicit, and deadly, drug makes the rounds

July 07, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • A new dangerous illegal drug is popping up in several countries.
A new dangerous illegal drug is popping up in several countries. (Wendy Wahman / For The Times )

A new, dangerous illicit drug may be gaining in popularity in several countries, according to a report issued Wednesday in the British Medical Journal.
 
The drug, phenazepam, is a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of epilepsy. It is no longer prescribed in the United States and several other countries. But it's available in some Eastern European nations and may be distributed via the Internet.
 
Doctors in Scotland reported nine cases of overdose deaths in which phenazepam was found in blood samples. Two deaths have been linked to the drug in the United States within the last year.
 
Doctors should be aware that people may be abusing the drug in place of other benzodiazepines or designer drugs, said the author of the report.
 
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