Australian consumers are crying out for non-addictive, natural alternatives to anxiety and insomnia medication. One new entrant to the ASX may have the solution.
It is an unfortunate fact that more Australians die each year from benzodiazepines overdoses than any other legal or illegal drug.
According to ABS statistics, 663 people died from overdosing on prescription depressants in 2016. To put that in context, as many deaths occured from benzodiazepines overdoses as deaths caused by heroin, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, MDMA, Speed and Ice combined.
This has lead to organisations like the Australian Medical Association labelling abuse of prescription drugs a “national emergency”.
Benzodiazepine, commonly referred to as ‘benzos’, are a class of highly addictive psychoactive drugs with sedative qualities.
Commonly used for their anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, sleep-inducing, and muscle relaxant properties, benzodiazepines are typically prescribed by physicians to patients suffering anxiety or insomnia.
The most common benzodiazepine brands include Xanax, Valium, Kalma, Alprax, Normison and Mogadon. While a black market for these pills exists, the majority of benzodiazepines are prescribed and purchased legally.
Issues with benzodiazepine abuse in Australia risen dramatically over the last two decades.
In 1999, the most likely person to die from a drug-induced death in Australia was an individual in their early 30s due to an overdose of morphine, heroin or benzodiazepines.
However, overprescription of drugs like valium and xanax, alongside increasing rates of stress, have seen consumption of benzodiazepines skyrocket.
This has resulted in the category of most common drug induced death to shift to regionally-based, middle-aged men overdosing after mixing prescription benzodiazepines or oxycodones.
In the midst this worsening problem, many alternative treatments have entered the market to contest the mainstream pharmaceutical prescriptions.
Once such competitor is medicinal kava, the production of which is frontrun by recent ASX entrant Fiji Kava (ASX:FIJ).
Made from the root of the kava plant, the product is a natural substitution to over the counter medications to treat anxiety, insomnia, and muscle tension.
Crucially, unlike the majority of benzodiazepines, kava is non-addictive, and is also free from the other side effects of driving impairment, memory loss, heart attack or hallucinations associated sometimes with prescription depressants.
Public confidence in kava and its medicinal qualities was further strengthened by a January announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that import restrictions on kava would be relaxed.
Fiji Kava also has plans to further investigate the broader clinical benefits of kava, with preliminary plans drawn for research and development, clinical trials and testing into the efficacy of different kava cultivars in treating different medical conditions.
As 2019 progresses and public concern over prescription drug abuse grows, traditional alternatives like those made by Fiji Kava may see their market share rapidly grow.
This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with Fiji Kava. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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