According to the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, 21 percent of opioid samples processed at drug-checking services between April 1 and Nov. 1, 2021 tested positive for benzodiazepines. Of samples of drugs analyzed from fatal overdoses in the province between July 2020 and September 2021, 43 percent contained at least one benzo. (In July 2020, just 15 percent of samples contained a benzo.) Etizolam, a potent benzo analogue that has fueled drug deaths in Scotland, is most commonly detected.
“The whole supply is just so absolutely fucked.”
Keisha, 32, a B.C.-based drug dealer who asked not to use her full name due to privacy concerns, said she knows one long-term benzo dope user who will fold up and sleep for hours after taking a hit, then wake up and repeat the process. “Her comfortable position is being bent in half, so she literally walks bent in half,” Keisha said. She said since benzo dope hit the drug market, “a lot of the people that I know can’t even put a fucking sentence together.” Keisha said the drug has earned the nickname “robbery dope” because people are being given a hit and then robbed of their money and drugs once they pass out.
“She literally walks bent in half.”
“We feel very, very, very ill-equipped to deal with this.”