How Much Are They Used

An international survey at the beginning of the 1980s showed that tranquilizers and sedatives of any type had been used at some time during the previous year by 12.9 percent of U.S. adults, 11.2 percent in the United Kingdom (U.K.), 7.4 percent in the Netherlands, and 15.9 percent in France. Persistent long-term users comprised 1.8 percent of all U.S. adults, 3.1 percent in the U.K., 1.7 percent in the Netherlands and 5.0 percent in France. The proportion of repeat prescriptions for tranquilizers has increased steadily since about 1970 in many countries, the U.K. in particular. This suggests that fewer people are being newly started on tranquil-

izers but that a large group of long-term users is accumulating. People starting tranquilizers have at least a 10 percent chance of going on to long-term use, that is for more than 6 months. Some of these chronic users have chronic medical or social problems, and the tranquilizer blunts the unpleasant feelings of tension, anxiety, insomnia and, to a lesser extent, depression.

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