Etizolam History & Legal Status in Uk
Etizolam is a benzodiazepine analog drug, known as Theniodiazepine. It is available under the brand names Etizaam, Pasaden, Depas, and Etilam. Theniodiazepines has the same chemical structure to benzodiazepines. As a result, they offer the same therapeutic effects as benzodiazepines with less dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Theniodiazepie vs Benzodiazepines
A Theniodiazepine is a compound with a complex ring structure, usually forming the core structure of anxiety-relieving medications and recreational drugs. Benzodiazepines, on the other hand, are a class of psychoactive medications that achieve their purpose by acting on the brain receptors.
History of Etizolam
Etizolam first appeared as a research medication in the online market in 2011. But it was patented in 1972, with its use initiated in Japan much earlier than 2011. It was used in the 1980s in Japan as an anxiolytic and sleep disorder medication. The growing popularity of the medicine made manufacturing companies spread its use to India and other Asian countries.
Gradually its use spread in European countries like Italy and other places throughout the world. Clinical studies in Italy showed that the medication was effective as an antidepressant, thus adding to its popularity. It was reviewed for the first time by the ECDD of WHO (Expert Committee of Drug Dependence) in 1989 and 1990. Its therapeutic effects were ranked between moderate to high. In the most recent review in 2017, it was declared a Schedule IV medication.
What Does It Look Like?
Etizolam are available in many forms. One can buy Etizolam powder, capsule and pill in UK and USA. While powdered forms are obtained in white colour, the tablet comes in blue or pink. Its 1mg strength doses come in different shades of blue. The branded ones come in a deeper shade, while the generic ones can be obtained in a lighter shade of blue.
Apart from blue, generic Etizolam tablets also come in pink, grey and orange colours. Branded tablets are usually round in shape with the letters E.Z. engraved over them. The 2mg tablets are available in a deep pink colour whereas the gel capsules come in a light yellow colour within aluminium foils or zip lock bags.
Death by Etizolam
Overuse of Etizolam has been the rising cause of mortality in the UK and USA. Since 2017, the illegal production and selling of Etizolam has increased in Scotland leading to an increasing number of deaths. Etizolam has been ranked third in the most frequently used drugs causing overdose induced death after heroin and methadone. Apart from Scotland, Sweden and the US have also reported an increase in overdose and poisoning cases caused by Etizolam.
Also referred to as ‘designer benzodiazepine’, Etizolam has been the cause of increasing ‘exposures’ since 2014-2017 as reported by the US National Poison System. Exposure in this case refers to casualties caused by misuse, overdose and suspected suicides. The number of exposures increased to 30 in 2015 as opposed to 26 in 2014, going further to 46 in 2016 and 60 in 2017. The UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) has reported 58 casualties in 2017 alone due to misuse of Etizolam. It has even been the cause of 48% of drug related deaths in Scotland since 2012-2018. Apart from these countries, Norway, Netherlands, Spain and Belgium have also reported an increase in the illegal trading and trafficking of Etizolam.
Etizolam Legal status
It was patented in 1970 and approved for medical use in 1983. In its initial reviews, the WHO tagged it as a therapeutic medication but, after 2017, declared it a controlled drug. As of March 2020, it has been declared a Schedule IV medication under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. In the USA, Etizolam has been declared a Schedule I drug.
Drugs and medications are classified into five parts depending on the medicines acceptable use and their abuse potential. Schedule I medications are those with no currently accepted medical use and a high risk of abuse potential. Schedule IV status to a treatment implies that it has some abuse potential with risk of dependence. These medications are available only under a physician’s prescription in an authorized medical counter. Possession or dispensing them without a prescription is considered illegal and declared punishable by law.
Even though it is a controlled substance, most people buy Etizolam through its generic counterparts that are more readily available than the branded ones.