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Karen Blakey, Andrew Griffiths and Mark Daglish

Designer Benzodiazepines in Queensland: What’s in fake Xanax

by Insight

Designer benzodiazepines are drugs in the benzodiazepine class that are not legally available in Australia as they have been deemed to have little benefit over currently approved products and/or their high potency increases the risk of adverse effects such as overdose. There has been a recent sharp increase in the prevalence and use of designer benzodiazepines in Queensland. These presentations will discuss; the wide range of formulations and dosages encountered in street seizures, the prevalence of these drugs in forensic cases and the coadministration with other drugs, and the potential short and long-term impact of these drugs on users and the wider Queensland community. 

Karen Blakey has worked in the Queensland Health Illicit Drug group for more than 20 years. The Illicit Drug group consists of 22 chemists and while NPS account for only a very small component of seized drugs in Queensland, they have presented scientific challenges and led to new testing processes to ensure we identify new compounds when they come on to the market. 

Andrew Griffiths is a Senior Scientist in the Forensic Toxicology laboratory at Forensic and Scientific Services in Queensland. The laboratory is responsible for the analysis of alcohol, and drugs or poisons in biological specimens relating to crime, drugs in driving matters and coronial investigations throughout the entire state of Queensland. The lab is therefore often the first to encounter a rise in popularity of either therapeutic or illicit drugs in the community and the adverse effects associated with their use.

Dr. Mark Daglish. Director of Addiction Psychiatry at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital since 2007. Senior Staff Specialist at Roma St Clinic since 2014.