Some medical professional and lawmakers have dubbed it the most dangerous pill not only in Colorado but America, and it’s not one you might suspect. It’s Klonopin.
Klonopin is an anti-anxiety medication, and it’s wreaking havoc on the lives of people who take it, much like Oxycodone and opioids which have led to an epidemic in cities across Colorado like Boulder and Denver, and the U.S.
So what should you know about Klonopin, and is Klonopin addictive?
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin is the brand name of the generic drug clonazepam, and it was initially introduced to the marketplace in the mid-1970s as a treatment for seizures from epilepsy. Since that time Klonopin has become a widely abused prescription drug, and it’s part of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. This drug class also includes commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium, and the entire class of drugs is second only to opioid painkillers as the most widely abused drugs in Colorado and the U.S.
It isn’t a new problem. In fact, if you listen to celebrities including Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mack you can see just how this drug has impacted the lives of many for decades.
Klonopin, along with being used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures, is also often used when people are detoxing from alcohol because it can help control some of the symptoms, particularly the more dangerous ones like the seizures. Klonopin isn’t without therapeutic benefit, but it also carries risks that are important for people to understand.
Klonopin is considered a prescription sedative, and it slows most of the functions of the body down when it’s taken, which is how it also calms the activity of the brain to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Klonopin is intended to be a short-term treatment option because it can be habit-forming.
Some of the symptoms of Klonopin use and abuse can include slurred speech, dizziness, drowsiness, slowed reaction time, memory problems, and a general lack of coordination. More severe side effects that can occur with abuse of this drug include depression, restlessness, constipation, paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, and violence, although these are much less common.
People in Colorado may be wondering is Klonopin addictive and how long does it take to get addicted to Klonopin, which we’ll cover below.
Is Klonopin Addictive?
It’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe Klonopin to patients in Colorado and cities like Denver and Colorado Springs, as well as around the nation. Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon people to abuse this drug and become addicted.
According to news reports, benzos like Klonopin are one of most widely prescribed classes of drugs in the U.S. and Colorado, and these sedative-style medicines are incredibly controversial. Yes, they do have benefits, but there are also risks associated with tolerance, addiction, and overdose.
There are also less direct side effects that come from the use of this drug and others like it. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control, benzo-related motor vehicle deaths have risen sharply in the past few years, and they’ve surpassed automobile deaths related to cocaine or heroin.
In Colorado, the National Institute of Drug Abuse Colorado reports death rates related to benzos doubled from 2003 to 2012.
With all of the potential negative side effects of Klonopin, there’s another as well, and that’s addiction. Klonopin and drugs like it are addictive and this is because of the way they impact the chemicals in the brain.
People who take this drug and other benzos may become physically dependent, addicted or both. With a physical dependence, you may not be psychologically addicted to Klonopin, but your body may be so used to having it that you don’t feel normal without it, and you experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop taking it.
How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted to Klonopin
A common question people have along with “is Klonopin addictive,” is how long does it take to get addicted to Klonopin.
The answer is that it depends. With a Klonopin addiction, it may develop after only using the drug regularly for around two weeks. An addiction can occur when you use the drug in the short-term and exactly as you’re prescribed to use it, although if you do follow your doctor’s instructions and only use it for a short period of time, you reduce your likelihood of addiction.
Some of the factors that may play a role in whether you become addicted to Klonopin include:
- How long you use the drug and how often you use it
- Whether you’re prescribed Klonopin, or you buy it illicitly
- Whether you abuse Klonopin in ways like crushing it and snorting it
- Your personal and family history of substance abuse
Of course, these aren’t all the factors that play a role in whether or not you’ll become addicted to Klonopin but they are some of the most significant.
Addiction to any drug including Klonopin is a disease that’s made up of genetic and environmental components, so there’s no way to determine how long it would take someone to become addicted to Klonopin or even if they will, but it’s extremely important that you use caution with Klonopin, even if you’re prescribed to it.
Younger people who use Klonopin may be at a greater risk of addiction because their brains are still developing and that leaves them vulnerable to addiction in general.
The best things to do to avoid an addiction to Klonopin are not to take the drug, but if you are prescribed it make sure your follow instructions from your doctor exactly and take it for the shortest time possible. You can also look for local Colorado resources if you believe you already have an addiction. There are statewide resources to help people with addiction to drugs like Klonopin including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Palmer Lake.