Redcar & Cleveland police authority area (PFA) had the highest rate of benzodiazepine seizures of all 40 PFAs in 2008/09, accounting for one in six of all tablets seized in England & Wales. Furthermore, a needs assessment study in Redcar & Cleveland in 2009 identified benzodiazepine use as a previously unrecognised and growing problem among local drug users.
In July 2010, focus groups were conducted at a local drug agency with 13 drug users to assess the nature and extent of diazepam use
It was reported that illicit use of benzodiazepines in Redcar had begun around five years ago, and had now reached record levels.
Diazepam was by far the most popular benzodiazepine, and was mainly available in the form of 10 mg tablets known as blues, vallies
or wobblies (typically costing £1 each).
The main reasons for its use among problem drug users was the poor quality of heroin and other drugs in Redcar, while younger drug
users were taking it for recreational purposes (eg. at weekends). Both groups were typically mixing it with alcohol and drugs to enhance
In July 2010, Lifeline Publications embarked on an awareness campaign on the illicit use of benzodiazepines in Redcar and Cleveland.
Some research was conducted in order to inform the initial stages of the planning and implementation of the campaign. The document below
reports the methods and findings of this research, and begins with a brief overview of this group of drugs (slang terms are in italics,
while trade names start with a capital letter).