February 8, 2023

60 Minutes+ correspondent Seth Doane reports on how drugs like Xanax have upended the lives of some young Americans. Xanax, one of several anti-anxiety drugs, known as benzos can be addictive and ​​withdrawing from them can be grueling. In 2020, 91 million prescript​ions were written for benzos, but their makers say they have helped millions and can be safe and effective.​

Welcome back to cbs this morning some health professionals say addiction to anti-anxiety medication is a growing epidemic 91 million prescriptions were written for anti-anxiety drugs like xanax last year they’re commonly prescribed for anxiety panic disorders and insomnia roughly one in eight american adults use them xanax is part of a class of anti-anxiety drugs

Commonly referred to as benzos and is one of the most prescribed psychiatric drugs in the united states but some users can experience brutal withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit in a new episode of 60 minutes plus correspondent seth doan spoke with one young woman about her struggle with addiction we met grace on day 240 of a grueling process of trying to

Wean herself off an anti-anxiety drug she was taking on doctors orders how is it to still have to take it it’s honestly miserable um it’s a little bit well no it’s definitely a mind game because i want nothing to do with this yet in order to function and get off of it i have to keep taking it she was 16 when a psychiatrist gave her a typical starter dose of

Xanax of 0.25 milligrams after she says she was physically and sexually assaulted at her highest dose she told us she was prescribed up to 24 times that amount 6 milligrams did your doctor express any concerns about upping the dose no never did your doctor talk to you about problems getting addicted never what did your doctor say she just wrote it to me and

Gave it to me and you thought what this doctor’s trying to help me because my anxiety disorder is getting so much worse so i must need what she’s giving me grace told us her doctor also never warned her about the challenges of coming off the drug what’s known as tapering what does it feel like to taper it’s night sweats night terrors massive rebound panic

Attacks i set a timer of 15 minutes to tell myself let’s survive this 15 minutes and then it’ll be done and then when the 15 minutes is up i hope to god it’s done but it’s usually not um so i usually reset that timer and 60 minutes plus correspondent seth doan joins us now seth good morning good morning to you um we just heard some of the challenges from grace

There what have you heard from the makers of xanax we spoke with beatrice which is they are the makers of xanax they told us that this is a drug that is a treatment option has been a proven safe and effective has worked for millions of patients they say that they’re always updating the label the warning label as guidance evolves and they say it’s imperative for

Medical professionals to work within not only during the course of this but also to identify the risks before they are prescribed that’s one of the things that a lot from people who are going through this process like grace who you see in that clip she said i just was never warned i had no idea that this would become something that i would feel so addicted to and

Then have such difficulty tapering coming off of it you know even just talking about it before we heard from grace there were it seemed like there were parallels to the opioid crisis and one doctor does compare it to that what are some of the similarities between them absolutely we spoke with dr anna lemke who’s in charge of addiction medicine at stanford and

She told us that she feels that she was one of the early warning doctors out there who were testifying and such worrying about this warning about this opioid crisis and she said she sees a lot of parallels and even though the the highest number of prescriptions for benzos were back in 2013 and there has been a slight downward trend she says they saw that also

In the opioid epidemic where doctors prescribe this and maybe there’s an awareness of some of the risks those prescriptions might go down a bit but you have just this chronic relapsing uh issue where people are then replacing the drugs with something else we spoke with little zan lil xan is a is a rapper zan is short for xanax and he taking 50 times the initial

Starter dose which of course he could not get so he said in what was given by his doctor with what he could find from dealer street all right seth thank you very much you can watch 60 minutes plus report right now on the viacom cbs streaming service paramount plus

Transcribed from video
Seth Doane on the growing addiction to anti-anxiety medication, debilitating withdrawal symptoms By CBS Mornings