CAHSS Faculty Articles

Benzodiazepine dependence among young adult participants in the club scene who use drugs

Steven P. Kurtz, Nova Southeastern University
Mance E. Buttram, Nova Southeastern University
Hilary L Surratt


Young adults ages 18–29 report the highest rates of benzodiazepine (BZD) misuse in the United States. The majority of club drug users are also in this age group, and BZD misuse is prevalent among participants in club scenes. This article examines BZD dependence and its correlates among young adult participants in the electronic dance music (EDM) culture in Miami, Florida, who use drugs. Structured interviews were with men and women (N = 356) ages 18 to 29 who reported regular attendance at EDM venues and recent use of both club drugs and BZDs. Prevalences of BZD-related problems were 12.6% for BZD dependence, 21.1% BZD abuse, and 24.2% BZD abuse and/or dependence. In a multivariate logistic regression model, younger age (OR 0.85; 95% CI 0.76, 0.96), severe mental distress (OR 8.30; 95% CI 3.07, 22.49), daily marijuana use (OR 2.10; 95% CI 1.03, 4.27), and heavy opioid use (OR 2.33; 95% CI 1.12, 4.83) were associated with BZD dependence. BZD dependence was higher in this sample than in other populations described in the literature. The links between BZD dependence, overdose history, and heavy opioid misuse are especially worrisome among this young sample. Recommendations for intervention and research are discussed.