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March 2020 – Recently scheduled benzodiazepines Flualprazolam and Etizolam associated with multiple post-mortem and DUID cases in UNODC EWA

VIENNA, Austria – March 2020: Flualprazolam and Etizolam are two of the twelve substances placed under international control at the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Their scheduling followed recommendations put forward by the World Health Organization (WHO) after the substances were reviewed at the 42nd Meeting of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD).

Data from the UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA) illustrates the emergence of Etizolam from 2015 to 2018, covering 51 countries in 4 regions. Furthermore, recent toxicology information from the EWA shows Etizolam associated with over 40 post-mortem cases, more than 90 driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) cases and 19 clinical admission cases. Similarly, Flualprazolam was associated with 5 post-mortem cases and 36 DUID cases. The scheduling of Flualprazolam and Etizolam follows other benzodiazepines such as Alprazolam, Bromazepam, Brotizolam, Clobazam, Clonazepam and so forth, in Schedule IV of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.

Figure 1: Most reported NPS in DUID cases in 2018 and 2019 reported to UNODC

Source: UNODC, Current NPS Threats, Vol. II (January 2020).

Note: Illustrated by the relative size of substance name displayed in relation to the number of reports

For further information please see:

Current NPS Threats, Vol. II (January 2020)

EWA news clip on substances recommended for scheduling by the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: WHO recommends 12 NPS for scheduling.

Non-medical use of benzodiazepines: a growing threat to public health?

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