Xanax is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These are anti-anxiety medications prescribed when people are highly stressed or having panic attacks. There are 44 million prescriptions written each year for Xanax (alprazolam), the most of any benzodiazepine. It is the eighth-most prescribed drug in the country.
Having plenty of a drug in circulation usually means that there is plenty of the drug available for abuse as well. And that is the case. Xanax “bars” are a very popular drug of abuse; this drug comes in the form of a small white bar that is scored so it can be broken into smaller doses. Generic forms of the drug—alprazolam—may be green or other colors.
Benzodiazepines Send Tens of Thousands to Rehab
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, benzos help send 60,000 people per year to publicly-funded rehab centers. Add in the privately funded centers and the number would be even higher.
The number of people being admitted to drug rehabs for addictions involving benzodiazepines nearly tripled between 1998 and 2008, while treatment admissions as a whole only went up eleven percent. However, nearly every person in treatment for benzodiazepines abused another substance as well. The most common secondary drug to abuse was opiates, then alcohol and then marijuana. But in the 12-to-17-year-old range, the most common secondary drug to abuse along with benzodiazepines was marijuana.
In 2009, there were more than 150,000 emergency room visits related to Xanax abuse—this number increased 150% over the number from 2004. By itself, it seldom kills people but when mixed with alcohol or opiates, the cumulative effect can be to slow a person’s breathing to the point of death.
This drug was present in the deaths of Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. One report from CNN stated that Michael Jackson was taking 10 Xanax bars a night just before his death, and that it was a decrease in his consumption from 30 to 40 bars a night.
Xanax is a fast-acting benzo and so is used to get anxiety or panic attacks under control quickly. There are a few benzos that act even faster that are primarily used before surgery.
Tolerance to Xanax Builds Quickly, Followed by Addiction
One of the problems with these drugs is that a body quickly builds a tolerance to them, meaning that more of the drug must be taken to get the same effect perhaps after just a few weeks. This buildup of tolerance can occur again and again, until one’s dosage gets very high.
According to the National Institutes of Health, this type of drug should not be taken for more than a few months due to the risk of addiction. There are also dangerous side effects suffered by some people, especially at higher doses like those taken by those are abusing the drug.
More serious effects include depression, thoughts of suicide, aggressive behavior, chest pain, tremors, confusion and hallucinations. Less serious effects include blurred or double vision, nausea, vomiting, loss of interest in sex and memory problems.
Since Xanax is a drug with such high abuse and addiction potential, use of it should be very short-term under close observation of a doctor. Supplies of the drug should be kept out of the reach of anyone who might abuse them. And if a person does become addicted to Xanax, an effective drug rehab service should be found to help that person find recovery.
At Narconon drug rehabilitation centers around the world, lasting recovery from addiction to Xanax can be found.
The Narconon program not only addresses the debilitating effects of drug abuse on the mind and body, but also resolves why a person turned to drugs in the first place. As a result, a person can graduate from the program into a new life free from drug use.
To those who wish to break the pattern of drug use or drinking that is destroying their lives, Narconon provides a unique drug recovery program that works.