Street benzodiazepines (benzos): what's in them?

Using benzos you’ve bought on the internet or from the street can be risky – here’s why.

What are street benzos?

Most benzos bought in the UK aren’t what they say they are.

Most pills sold as diazepam (Valium), temazepam or alprazolam (Xanax) actually contain other substances.

This means it’s impossible to know what’s in them or how they’ll affect you.

Even pills sold in genuine-looking blister packs or pharmacy bottles don’t usually contain what they say on the label.

What lab analysis shows

When Avon and Somerset Police analysed pills sold as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) they found that most of the pills didn't actually contain these drugs.*

Xanax is a brand name for the drug alprazolam.

  • Only 15% of pills sold as Xanax actually contained alprazolam
  • Only 25% of blue pills marked MSJ and sold as diazepam contained diazepam
  • Only 13% of blue pills marked C/DC contained diazepam
  • Other pills sold as diazepam contained no diazepam at all

The strength varies from pill to pill

Illegal benzos aren’t made in controlled conditions like the prescribed versions.

This means pills from the same baggie, packet or bottle can be very different strengths.

Lab tests show that some benzos bought in the UK have no active ingredients at all.

Others are much stronger than the prescribed versions.

This raises your risk of overdose and can make it harder to come off them.

Do you need help to cut down?

If you’re having severe benzo withdrawals or you’re finding it difficult to cut down, drug and alcohol services like WithYou can help – talk to us online or find a free, confidential service near you.

For regular alerts about drugs and drug testing, follow

To get drugs tested for free, visit

Service finder results

1-2 miles - Considered within walking distance threshold, however, cycling, public transport, or a personal vehicle is advised if no safe walking routes.
10-15 miles - Generally between a minimum of 30 mins to 1 hour travel time expected via public transport or personal vehicle. This may depend on form of transport, time of day and/or road layouts.
20-25 miles - Generally between a minimum of 50 minutes to 1.5 hours travel time expected via public transport or personal vehicle. This may depend on form of transport, time of travel and/or road layouts