December 2022

Ted Noffs Foundation says problem has tripled in past five years
All Media Room

The Ted Noffs Foundation’s Clinical Services Manager, Kieran Palmer, has revealed that at their Sydney youth rehabilitation service, PALM, the percentage of clients with a primary problem of benzodiazepine use has tripled.

‘In the period from 2016 to 2019 this was the main drug problem for 4.2% of our residents. For the period 2019 to 2022, this jumped to 13.25%’ he said.

‘At the Noffs Canberra facility it jumped from 1.7% to 8%. It’s not an anomaly, it’s really stuck around’ he added.

Mr Palmer explained that treatment can be problematic. “If they are really dependent it’s a very, very difficult drug to come off. It can have some really strong, nasty side effects, similar to opioids and alcohol. Physically it can be awful, people can get stomach problems.

“Emotionally it can be very hard for people to manage the ups and downs with coming off drugs like Xanax in particular because it is so good at numbing everything out. It’s like throwing a big, warm doona over you, so coming off it they feel everything really, really strongly. Trying to deal with everyday life can become really, really challenging, which is why there is a high relapse rate. It can take people a few goes’ he explained.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Piper, The Herald Sun