Zopiclone, also known as Imovane, is a drug often intended as a “less addictive” alternative to benzodiazepines. Zopiclone is a tranquiliser that depresses the Central Nervous System. Unfortunately, the body adapts to this tranquilisation and, as a result, can become addicted to the substance.
Zopiclone is a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act. It is part of a group called “Z drugs”. It is intended for use as a sleep aid for those with insomnia, with additional anti-axiety effects through depression of the CNS.
It effects short term memory and motor skills. A publication in the New Zealand Medical Journal referred to Zopiclone as “a benzodiazepine in disguise”. A World Health Organization assessment of Zopiclone drew similarities between Zopiclone and Benzos in their chemical interactions with the CNS, their toxicity and their withdrawal effects.
Zopiclone can also cause changes in taste perception, hallucinations, nightmares, agitation, aggression, irritability, confusion, depression, nausea, vomiting, and an increase in respiratory viral infections.
Zopiclone dependence/addiction has been found to be prevalent among users who already have underlying issues of addiction (“a history of drug abuse”) or mental health problems like depression, leading to abuse by polydrugusers, which is extremely dangerous due to Zopiclone’s interaction with other drugs or alcohol. A Swedish study found that alcoholic patients were much more likely to be dependent on legal psychotropic drugs than their non-alcoholic counterparts.
Those who abuse the drug report that it provides a sense of euphoria (after a phase of “fighting off” lethargy).
Memory loss and loss of motorskills is common with high doses, with the potential for hallucinations.
Like other controlled substances, Zopiclone has medicinal benefits. However, the increasing frequency of its abuse is cause for attention, and it is important to raise awareness of its addictive potential. Zopiclone should only be used as prescribed.