Although evidence is lacking, there is general perception that zolpidem and zopiclone (‘Z-drugs’) are more effective and safer than benzodiazepines leading to an increased prescribing of Z-drugs. In Germany, 85% of the inhabitants are covered by statutory health insurance (SHI), the rest is privately insured. Z-drugs are covered by SHIs but physicians can also provide private prescriptions for SHI insured persons, who then have to pay for these out of pocket. Since private prescriptions are not documented in SHI claims data, physicians might prescribe drugs associated with abuse as private prescriptions. We aim to quantify SHI versus private prescriptions of Z-drugs and analyze regional variations.