Although Klonopin has a potential for tolerance, abuse and addiction, this medication is generally safer and less addictive than other tranquilizers. But most recreational users take Klonopin along with other drugs or alcohol, either to enhance the sedative properties of Klonopin or to counteract the effects of stimulants like meth or cocaine. In fact, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry states that drugs in the benzodiazepine family are rarely the primary drugs of abuse, and that most people who take benzodiazepines for nonmedical reasons combine them with other intoxicants.
Klonopin with Opioids or Sedatives
Klonopin, or clonazepam, belongs to a group of sedative-hypnotic drugs called benzodiazepines.
This drug’s purpose is to slow down excessive activity in the central nervous system (CNS) in order to prevent seizures, relieve anxiety or control abnormal muscle movement.
As a central nervous system depressant, Klonopin also slows down vital functions like respiration. Taking too much Klonopin, or combining it with other CNS depressants, can make you feel tired, dizzy, confused and uncoordinated.
Benzodiazepines are often combined with narcotics derived from opium — such as heroin, methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone — or with other tranquilizers and sedatives. Taking benzodiazepines with these CNS depressants can cause immediate reactions such as extreme sedation, slow breathing and a slow heart rate. Over the long-term, abusing Klonopin with illicit opioids or opioid pain medications can cause numerous harmful side effects, such as:
- Chronic confusion
- Memory loss
- Lack of coordination
- Slow reflexes
- Digestive problems
Most importantly, combining Klonopin with opioids or sedatives increases the risk of a serious overdose. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), benzodiazepine users who seek treatment at the emergency room are more likely to be admitted for hospitalization if they have multiple drugs in their system.
Alcohol and Klonopin
When taken together, alcohol and Klonopin form a dangerous cocktail. Klonopin is a powerful, long-acting anxiolytic drug, and recreational users seek it out for its tranquilizing effects. Because alcohol intensifies the side effects of Klonopin, this combination is popular among polydrug users. The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs notes that alcohol is the most common secondary substance of abuse involved in benzodiazepine overdoses.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence states that the incidence of drug overdoses, drug-related deaths, and fatal motor vehicle accidents is higher among people who routinely abuse alcohol with benzodiazepines. In pregnant women, taking Klonopin with alcohol can also raise the risk of birth defects in the developing fetus.
Respiratory failure, loss of consciousness and death may result from taking clonazepam while you’re drinking. Over time, abusing Klonopin and alcohol can affect your moods, memory and cognition, causing depression, memory loss and learning problems.
Getting Help for Polydrug Abuse
Recovering from polydrug abuse can be extremely challenging but is not impossible. With the right level of emotional support and clinical monitoring, you can recover safely from an addiction to Klonopin and other drugs or alcohol. Black Bear Lodge provides a safe refuge for healing in the peaceful foothills of northern Georgia. Call our admissions coordinators today to find out how our individualized treatment plans can help you regain your health and restore your hope for the future.