The Dangers of Xanax Misuse

The Dangers of Xanax Misuse

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name for the drug Alprazolam. Xanax belongs to a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines; the same family that includes Valium (Diazepam), Klonopin (Clonazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), and Dalmane (Flurazepam), among others. In the United States, Xanax is the single most-prescribed psychiatric medication.

What is Xanax Prescribed For?

Xanax is used as a short-term treatment for anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder. Benzodiazepines produce a calming effect by acting on the central nervous system. Xanax is a short-acting Benzodiazepine, and acts as a mild tranquiliser. It works by slowing and balancing the movement of brain chemicals and increasing the amount of a neurotransmitter in the brain known as GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), thus promoting a relaxed and calm feeling.

Xanax Has Become an Abused Medication

First approved by the FDA in October 1981, Xanax is an effective and safe medication – when used correctly! Unfortunately, besides being the most prescribed psychiatric medication, the US Drug Enforcement Administration states that Xanax is also the most abused medication. When taken as prescribed by a general practitioner it has a therapeutic, potent, anti-anxiety, sedative, anticonvulsant effect, because it acts so quickly in the body – the effects usually begin within one hour. But when this drug is mixed with alcohol, it can have a devastating result.

The most common drug combinations noted in ER admissions are alcohol and Xanax and a combination of Xanax and prescription opiates like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. The reason Xanax is so widely abused is because it provides a fast acting “high” for people who take it. People taking Xanax should also realise that the body of certain individuals may handle Xanax differently; like people who suffer from alcoholism, older adults, obese people, people with alcoholic liver disease or impaired renal function, and people with impaired hepatic function.

Xanax and Alcohol are a Dangerous Combination!

Long term use of Xanax can put people at risk of serious harm. Long-term addiction and abuse of Xanax can be associated with psychotic experiences, depression, and impulsive or aggressive behaviour. People do become dependent on or addicted to these types of drugs, then suffer painful withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop. When mixed with alcohol, alprazolam can cause blackouts, putting consumers of these drugs at great risk of being sexually abused. Overdosing can lead to a huge risk of breathing and heart problems, which can result in death.

Beware of Fake Xanax

Xanax abuse is a massive problem in itself, however using the drug can be even more dangerous when it is sourced from an unauthorised or illegal route. The problem of fake drugs being sold on the internet, or through social media, is a huge one. Benzodiazepines, have been particularly targeted by criminals in recent years and the web has exploded with fake tablets, purporting to be Xanax or Valium or some other branded drug, when in fact they were something completely different.

In July 2020, a young person in the UK overdosed on a substance similar to Xanax, which they had purchased via social media.  In August 2020, Sky News reported on the problem of fake benzodiazepines.  The journalists found potentially fake Xanax being offered for sale on social media for as little as £1.

Buying Xanax Online – the role of Social Media

COVID-19 has changed the way people use drugs. A lot of drug dealing now has moved away from street corners and dark alleys. Social media is allowing young people to purchase drugs online, from the privacy of their own bedrooms.

Xanax, as a controlled medicine in the UK, meaning that is risky to buy medicine online as the source will almost certainly be illegal. The increased amount of drugs being sold on the dark web has also helped to increase the amount of drugs being sent by post.

Get Help Quickly!

You must act quickly if you or someone you know is having problems with alprazolam. A Benzodiazepines Drug Test Kit can help confirm if an individual has been taking the drug.

If it’s an emergency you can talk to Frank. Seek advice at The Emergency Help page.  Alternatively, if it’s not an emergency and you or a loved one need help, you can search FRANK to find support near you.

Photo Credit: “Xanax 2 mg” (CC BY 2.0) by Dean812

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated regularly since.

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