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BEND, OR -- As Congress searches for ways to address the nation’s opioid crisis and the FDA evaluates how to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions, a local group is trying to raise awareness of another class of drugs they say is also being over-prescribed by doctors. 


Marjorie Meret-Carmen, with Bend-based Advocates For Social Change, says Klonopin, Xanax and Valium are examples of commonly used Benzodiazepines, "The one thing I did was Ativan Lorazipan, but there are many names for the same concoction; I call them 'recipes.' And so, once I realized what that drug was doing to me as prescribed by more than one physician, and my writer instincts and my research instincts said, ‘something’s wrong with you’.” She took Ativan for four years, but she believes these drugs – sometimes called “Benzos” - should only be used for a few weeks at a time. She wants to see legislation force more education of doctors and a requirement that patients be told about the risks of taking the drugs. "What I experienced was really basically criminal. People were telling me, because I’m old – in my 70s – that I could take this for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t be a problem. When, in fact, no one over the age of 65 should be taking a Benzodiazepine; it limits their consciousness."
Advocates For Social Change is hosting a symposium at St. Charles Bend in mid-September for local doctors and others who prescribe Benzos. "We’re bringing this awareness that has been available to everyone, if they only Google Benzodiazepines, but nobody knew in this part of the world that these things could ultimately ream your brain, kill your neurons, affect every organ in your body and ultimately kill you like all these things we’re reading about celebrities." Meret-Carmen says the goal is to educate doctors about dependence, which is sometimes confused with addiction, and alternative treatments. 
Click HERE for more information on The International Benzodiazepine Symposium, Septmeber 15-17. To listen to our full conversation with Marjorie Meret-Carmen, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.

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