Given the success of my last foray into this story I fihnd this interesting:
The consensus among health professionals yesterday was that there is something about people who take sleeping pills that makes them likely to die earlier – but it’s almost certainly a complex combination of factors. If they need pills to sleep, that might indicate an underlying anxiety caused by physical ill health. Alternatively, the anxiety itself could be eroding the body’s defences, causing any number of symptoms that can shorten your lifespan in subtle ways. But that’s guesswork.
And we\’ve even a method of testing it:
Other benzos act faster than diazepam and do induce greater drowsiness; they’re more likely to be used only at night. But in the course of my research I don’t think I came across one sleeping pill that wasn’t also being used recreationally.
“Valium and zopiclone are very popular at rock festivals,” says Alice, 23, who works in publishing. “People want to come down and chill out after taking uppers. It’s absolutely normal.” And where do the pills come from? “Oh, somebody’s GP. Or through the internet from Thailand.”
The rise of internet pharmacies has helped to popularise tranquillisers among young drug-takers from all social classes. On the streets of the north-east of England, Z-drug pills circulate in strengths that are unavailable in the UK – evidence that they have been ordered online.
Given the massive effect claimed, as much as smoking, we should therefore be able to observe that effect among recreational takers of the same drugs.
Yes, obviously, it\’s a difficult thing to measure, who has been taking it recreationally. But it is through that that we would be able to unscramble the effects. If it\’s the drugs causing the deaths then we should be finding an elevated death rate among those who go to such festivals and take the drugs.
And if that elevated death rate isn\’t there then we\’d rather swing towards it being the underlying condition(s) which produce the prescriptions causing it rather than the drugs themselves.
Of course, I\’m not going to do such a study and nor are you. But I have a feeling that someone is. Quite possibly the drug manufacturers. For I have a feeling that there\’s going to be a lot of pressure from the plantiff\’s bar in coming years off the back of that original paper. Pressure that the pharma companies would rather like to have some defence against.