Benzodiazepine: History notes

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 7:25 am

Historically, tranquilizers were not one of the drugs made famous in the drug culture of the 1960s. Yet these drugs, including benzodiazepines and minor tranquilizers, were becoming a mainstay of treatment for many middle-class housewives throughout the United States at that time. These women were far from the college campus, hippie love-ins, and concert-going youths that made the decade famous for its experimentations in free love and hallucinogenic drugs.

The practice of taking minor tranquilizers was so widespread during this time that they were made famous in the song by the Rolling Stones called “Mother’s Little Helper.” It is estimated that in the 1970s, as many as 30 million women were taking minor tranquilizers. This made up almost 50% of the female population at that time. Psychiatrists were freely prescribing these minor tranquilizers to unhappy housewives, with no thought of their addictive properties, and many housewives became unknowingly and undeniably addicted to these drugs.

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