(benzos, vallies, blues, Valium, Xanax, xannies)

Benzos are a type of depressant drug that are used in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Recreationally, they are usually used for their mood-lifting effects. Although benzos are prescription drugs, there is a huge amount of illicit production. This means that contaminated, incorrectly dosed pills have flooded the market. The most commonly used benzos are Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam).

Effects | Dosage | Advice | Support


There are lots of different benzodiazepines available on the market. The effects of each are largely similar but vary in duration and strength.

  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Lifted mood/euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Sleepiness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • ‘Flattened’ mood
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Aggression (particularly when combined with alcohol)
  • Blackouts/memory loss (particularly at high doses or when combined with alcohol)

Paradoxical symptoms (the opposite effects of those that are desirable) sometimes occur when a benzo wears off. This is more likely to happen with short acting benzos.


As always, dosage will depend on a number of factors including weight, gender and tolerance, amongst others. The following advice is a guide only. If the benzodiazepine you are using is not listed here you can visit the tool listed below to make dose conversions.

Valium (diazepam)

The effects will take around 15- 40 minutes to kick in and will last for 5-8 hours.

Light: 2.5-5 mg
Common: 5-15 mg
Strong: 15-30 mg

Xanax (alprazolam)

The effects will take around 20-40 minutes to kick in and will last 5-8 hours.

Light: 0.25-0.5 mg
Common: 0.5-1.5 mg
Strong: 1.5-2 mg

Harm Reduction Advice

  • Using prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to you will always carry risks, this is especially true of benzodiazepines as they are so often dosed incorrectly or contain a different substance entirely. Always be cautious when taking benzos, even if your supplier says they are ‘legit’ and they come in convincing packaging.
  • Start low and take it slow. It’s impossible to tell if each pill contains the same amount of active ingredient.
  • Resist the urge to redose. Benzos effect your memory and its can get really difficult to keep track of how many you’ve taken.
  • Avoid alcohol if you’re using benzos. It will increase the chance that you’ll have an unpleasant experience and will put you at a greater risk of overdose.
  • Snorting benzos is far less effective than taking them orally but it will damage your nose so don’t bother.
  • Try not to use too regularly as tolerance builds quickly and benzos are highly addictive. If you think you’ve developed a dependence seek professional support as coming off benzos too quickly can be very dangerous.
  • Self-medicating for anxiety/depression will make your mental health worse in the long run.  If you're struggling with poor mental health contact your GP or Vitaminds.
  • Do not attempt to get in the car and drive. Make sure you find a safe alternative.

Access Support

The Drop is BDP's one stop shop for support, advice and resources around party drugs. Browse our website for more support on prescription drugs.

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External Resources

Drug combinations


Visit drugsand.me for more information.

Image Credit: Dominic Milton Trott