Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam, which is prescribed for anxiety conditions.
As a benzodiazepine, it is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule IV drug, which means that it is considered to have a low risk for abuse and dependency. Despite this classification, people abuse Ativan and other benzodiazepine medications at high rates, and this abuse comes with serious risks.
It is available in both a tablet and liquid concentrate form. The medication can be habit-forming, and users can develop a tolerance to the drug, causing them to seek out more or attempt to potentiate the drug in other ways.
If you have a legal prescription for Ativan and purchase the drug from a licensed pharmacy, there is virtually no risk of your Ativan being cut or contaminated with other substances. If you purchase Ativan from illicit drug markets, there is no guarantee that the substance you buy is a safe product.
There is not much evidence that there is a problem with Ativan being cut with other substances by dealers or using counterfeit products in its place. However, some users may cut Ativan on their own with other substances to alter the effects of the drugs.
When users cut their own prescription drugs such as Ativan, they usually crush the pill up and then combine it with other powdery substances and snort it. Some common substances that some people may use to cut Ativan include:
This is a stimulant drug that may be combined with Ativan to create an energetic high that is tempered by the relaxing effects of the sedative properties of Ativan. As with all polysubstance misuse, this practice can mask dangerous overdose symptoms and result in users accidentally taking too much and overdosing.
Methamphetamine is another stimulant drug that is used similarly as the cocaine combination. This practice also comes with the same risks of accidental overdose.
Ativan is sometimes used to boost the pain-relieving effects of methadone. Because these two drugs both act as depressants, there is a significant danger of depressing the central nervous system too much, causing a fatal overdose.
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There are some testing kits available that people can use to test their drugs for contaminants and cutting agents. These kits will be labeled with exactly what substances they can detect. If you have a concern that Ativan you have purchased may be contaminated with another drug, use these testing kits to verify your suspicions.
Although there is not any current evidence that fentanyl is being used to cut Ativan or being sold as Ativan, the powerful opiate is increasingly being implicated in overdose deaths. Since it has been used to cut other illicit substances, it’s possible it could be used to cut Ativan.
You can use fentanyl testing strips (FTS) to test your Ativan for the presence of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a cheap substance that is easy to obtain. As a result, dealers use it to cut their drug supplies to increase profits or create counterfeit drugs. This is a dangerous trend that addiction and public health officials have called attention to in recent years due to fentanyl’s high risk of fatal overdose.You may not be able to test for every possible contaminant or cutting agent. Dealers who are illegally manufacturing pills to be sold as prescription drugs may use a wide variety of substances to create their products, and the quality will be unreliable.
No. There is no reliable method of “eyeballing” whether or not pills you have purchased are laced with another substance. It is virtually impossible to tell if Ativan is cut with another substance just by looking at it.
In most cases, dealers who lace drugs are looking to stretch the amount of product they have for sale. They work to find cutting agents that are similar in color and texture to hide any contaminants in the drug supply.
Drug dealers have gotten proficient at creating fake pills they can sell and pass off as legitimate prescription drugs that are in demand. Some manufacturers are even able to put the same drug stamp onto their pills as the pharmaceutical companies, making it even more difficult to tell if the pill you have purchased is a fake.
There is always a risk of buying counterfeit or laced drugs when you purchase substances from illicit drug markets.
Always be aware that the substances you buy and consume may contain other drugs or additives that could increase the risk of overdose, adverse reactions, or even death.
If you think your Ativan might have been laced with another substance, seek out medical attention immediately. Drug combinations can have unpredictable effects, and symptoms can quickly escalate and even cause death.
Benzodiazepines are involved in about 31 percent of fatal overdoses, according to a study from the American Journal of Public Health. Most overdoses occur due to a combination of substances in the body.
Signs of an Ativan overdose or potential contamination include the following:
If any of these signs are present, call 911 for emergency assistance.
(April 2016). Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996–2013. American Journal of Public Health. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816010/
Drug Scheduling. U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
Fentanyl. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/fentanyl
Lorazepam. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved January 2019 from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682053.html
I Need Help. Poison Help Line. Retrieved January 2019 from http://www.poisonhelp.org/help
(September 2015). Prescription Sedative Misuse and Abuse. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. Retrieved January 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553644/