We asked Manchester students about their experiences with Xanax and Valium

Benzo consumption is a rising trend in our student community

Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and other benzos are powerful hypnotic and anxiolytic drugs which are traditionally prescribed to treat severe cases of insomnia, anxiety and panic disorder. There has been a rise in trends of recreational consumption amongst students, but we found that people had mixed reviews about them. We reached out to students about "the trendy" drugs. How much were people taking? Why? And since when did it become so fashionable?

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Benzos can be very strong, especially when mixed with other depressant substances like alcohol. We spoke to a few students who describe taking several benzos, either in one go or throughout the night, and often mix the drugs with other substances.

One of the most popular uses of Valium is as a sleeping pill. Students use it after a night of partying to get to sleep soundly and eliminate the inevitable shit-show hangover/comedown combination the next day.

Sam, 19

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"I only really take Vals occasionally after a night out to get to sleep. If I've been dropping at a festival and carry on til about 6am, I'm not going to be able to get to sleep without them"

Although Valium might be good if you’re having trouble sleeping… Its active metabolite elimination half-life is 4 days, meaning you could feel tired and lethargic for a while after.

Sarah, 19, from UoM and Cat, 20, from MSoA

"Valium doesn’t do it for me anymore… I end up taking a few after a night out to get a solid sleep but then the few days after that I feel so spaced out and can’t do anything productive"

"I started taking Vallies in the morning to get me through my art deadline. I got it done and did well but I can hardly remember that week which is freaky"

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Xanax however, is much more potent. When putting things into perspective, the equivalent dosage (compared to 5mg of Valium) of Xanax would be 0.25mg… That’s merely a quarter of an average Xanax bar. With a half-life of 6-27 (based on 0.25mg), the drug is shorter acting than Valium if it’s taken in the right dose.

Caroline, 19

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"I once took a Xanax just before Antwerp and didn’t make it outside the house, I was totally zombie-fied and slept for 2 days. My friend said I was so weird at pres… apparently I was undressing and dancing on top of her boyfriend but I can’t remember a thing. It’s so weird and embarrassing I definitely won’t do take it again."

Alex (22) said:

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"I've never taken Xanax because I see what's happened to my mates when they're on them. They literally just flop, can't speak properly and dribble everywhere. It is funny but then just goes weird very quickly…"

But why now? Where have they come from? David Sunter, a former researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University claims:

"There's definitely been a shift away from smoking Weed… It's just not the same anymore with all these new strengths like skunk. It sends people loopy… But with benzos you can just take one or two and pass out"

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