By Joanna Bright, AJ Martin, Monica Richards, Marie Morie
Edited by: Ivan Ezquerra-Romano, Julie Uszpolewicz, Lauren Stewart
The Benzo Research Project is a student-led group researching recreational benzodiazepine (benzo) use in young people across the UK with the aim of sparking conversation and raising awareness of the emerging issues surrounding this. It was set up in Summer 2021, and has had over 50 young people volunteering 4,000 hours over 16 months, conducted entirely online via WhatsApp group chats and Zoom calls.
Over the course of 16 months, the Benzo Research Project collected 81 anonymous testimonies and counting on non-medical benzo use amongst young people (18-25) in the UK. We conducted an inductive thematic analysis of 73 testimonies received between March and September 2022. Respondents were prompted with questions on:
- Young people’s experiences on benzos, whether positive, neutral, or negative
- Their opinions on the connection between benzo use, education, and music subcultures
- Previous experiences of accessing support services
- What effective drug support would look like to them
- Experiences of those who’ve been around others on benzos but not taken it themselves
When submitting, participants could choose to give us demographic information such as place of residence and gender, however this was optional.