I took clonapin – 1mg a day – as prescribed and I very nearly died when I ran out of the med.

I’m a geologist and in my field vehiscle I keep three days of backup meds, in case I got hung up in the boonies or snowed in while traveling… emergency supply.

I also keep 30 litres of water and plenty of nonperishsble food in the truck. I have two -40F sleeping bags, tent, heat sources, medical kit, five self-powered light sources, cold and hot weather clothing, snowshoes. I’m responsibly prepared to be stranded.

In 2018, I got stuck in deep sand 50 miles from the closest habitation. I got to a high spot and was able to get a phone call to a friend. It took him five days to find me. By then, I was delirious, couldn’t speak, could hardly walk, my eyesight was shot, and so much more.

This is how I learned I was addicted to a benzo. By not having the med for ONLY TWO DAYS, my mind and body shut down from immediate withdrawl symptoms.

I never got a “buzz” from clonapin. It helped my anxiety after Clare died. The shit is insidious in this way.

Last year I shared this story at group and one peer praised benzos, telling me to stop scaring everyone away from benzos. The peer further stated “Every medication affects people differently. You just had a bad side effect.”

So, just to be helpful, let’s clarify that death from running out of clonapin is a side effect.

Death is a side effect.

I was responsible with clonapin, as I am with every prescribed medication. And because of how easily I was addicted and the fatal consequences attached, I warn EVERYONE to stay away from benzos. Anecdotes of “It works great for me!” hold no sway. The shit is FATALLY DANGEROUS. Death is an acceptable side effect for taking benzos. How is that okay?

And, I had been taking the shit for ONLY THREE MONTHS. Try to convince me the shit isn’t addictive.

I now keep seven days of emergency meds in the truck. And never again a benzo is in the mix. Ever.

Three parting thoughts:

1.) Clonapin was prescribed to help with anxiety after my 31 year old girlfriend died. The benzo was prescribed by my trusted and still trusted med manager of eight years. I don’t fault her even in the slightest. And now, after what happened to me, she sparingly prescribes benzos.

2.) In speaking with peers every week for four years at Turquoise Lodge, I’ve heard time and time and time and time and time again from peers who have been addicted to both heroin and benzos that it is many times more difficult to get over benzo addiction than opioid addiction.


3.) Once the Opioid Crisis is well managed, the Benzo Crisis is our next national addiction crisis. Without question.


There are so many other medications to treat the same symptoms.