Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs and nervous system depressants commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, stress, insomnia, epilepsy and to sedate people before certain medical procedures. In the 1970s benzodiazepines were the most prescribed medications globally however, the introduction of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), among other factors, have decreased their rates of prescription. They are considered a major addictive substance and are only recommended for short-term (2-4 week) use. Non-medical benzodiazepine use is mostly limited to individuals who use other substances, i.e., people who engage in polysubstance use. Urine tests for benzodiazepines are the most common as they are able to detect the drug for several weeks after use, whereas benzodiazepines are only detectable in saliva and blood for a few hours to a few days.
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