Can you overdose or die if you misuse prescription depressants?

Yes, you can die if you misuse depressants. In 2018, 899 people ages 15–24 died from an overdose of an antidepressant prescription drug. Most of these deaths were from misuse of benzodiazepines, drugs designed to have calming effects, such as Valium® or Xanax®. Many of the deaths were in combination with an opioid drug.1

In fact, the risk for overdose and death increases when depressants are combined with other drugs or alcohol. The number of deaths involving benzodiazepines or antidepressants in combination with opioids has increased steadily since 2014, while deaths from these drugs not mixed with opioids has remained steady.

Learn more about drug overdoses in youth.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2018 on CDC WONDER Online Database, T40.2, T40.3. Released 2019. Available at