Any use of Xanax outside of a prescription is misuse. People who misuse Xanax may choose to snort or smoke it to feel its effects faster. These practices are very dangerous.
Alprazolam, known by its brand name Xanax, is a popular benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to people who have panic or anxiety disorders. In rare instances, it may be used to treat premenstrual symptoms or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).
Medline Plus explains that it decreases activity in the brain to bring about a sense of calm.
Xanax is available as a regular and extended-release tablet, a dissolving tablet, and an oral solution. The medication is habit-forming even when taken as directed.
As such, patients are instructed not to suddenly quit taking Xanax if they become concerned over its effects. No one should take Xanax more often or in larger doses than what is prescribed.
The medication still contains the potential to be misused, and patients are instructed not to share their medicine with anyone else. Laws govern the possession of Xanax, and people can only obtain a certain number of refills.
But what if the person taking Xanax is not a patient? Public figures have spoken out about addiction to Xanax.
Korn’s lead singer, Jonathan Davis, spoke out about having to quit Xanax to improve his mental health in an interview with Forbes magazine in June 2018. Davis testified that Xanax should not be taken for long periods of time due to its associated risks.
Beyond slowing down activity in the brain, Xanax is known to cause brain damage, as mentioned by Psychology Today. The medical community has shown concern over the effects of Xanax and other benzodiazepines since the 1970s.
Scientists have known that long-term use of benzodiazepines damages the brain since at least 1982. In 1989, an expert in anxiety, Isaac Marks, published a scathing report on the merits of Xanax. Marks cited brain scans that showed enlarged ventricles in patients who used benzodiazepines for a long time.
In 1990, the American Psychiatric Association Task Force finally made a list of withdrawal symptoms.
Xanax also affects the body. Medline Plus outlines various side effects of Xanax.
These side effects can take place regardless of how Xanax is used. But recreational use of Xanax increases the likelihood of such effects.
Any use of Xanax for nonmedical reasons is recreational use. Many users become dependent on Xanax, and counterfeit versions of this medication are sold on the street.
A 2016 article from New York Post warns that counterfeit Xanax tablets make it easy for someone to take too much Xanax. Some tablets sold contain 2.5 mg of alprazolam, which is roughly ten times more than what a doctor would prescribe.
Taking Xanax regularly results in a quick building of tolerance. Increased access to counterfeit Xanax puts individuals at risk of taking alprazolam that is stronger than they can handle and adulterated with unknown components.
Some users alter their method of intake for a quicker, more intense high. They may crush the pills and snort the resulting powder. They may also attempt to smoke Xanax.
Snorting any drug is dangerous. Snorting often results in feeling stronger effects of the substance.
Snorting involves crushing a drug, often with a razor, until it becomes a powder. It is then divided into sections called “lines” and snorted with an implement, such as a paper that has been rolled or a straw.
Absorption of any drug is higher using this method. It travels throughout the bloodstream thanks to the soft tissue inside the nose. The main reasons people choose to snort Xanax are:
Snorting Xanax will force a faster reaction because most pills are made to release the drug slowly into the bloodstream. Crushing it and taking it suddenly makes Xanax more dangerous and can contribute to long-term misuse.
In addition, snorting anything can cause a variety of consequences.
Not much is known about how people smoke Xanax since taking the drug orally and snorting it are popular methods of intake. When Xanax is crushed into a powder, it is possible to smoke it.
Online commenters have self-reported mixing remnants of other benzodiazepines into tobacco after dissolving them with glycerin. Others reported mixing Xanax into their marijuana, crushing it into a powder and wrapping it in foil, or using other benzodiazepines on e-cigarettes.
Smoking Xanax could be dangerous because it may encourage people to mix the medication with other substances. Heating it could also change how it works, and the effects on people who smoke benzodiazepines of any kind have not been examined.
Smoking any drug can result in a bevy of negative effects, such as respiratory issues, mouth burns, and future cancers.
(March 2015) Inhaled vs. oral alprazolam: subjective, behavioral and cognitive effects, and modestly increased abuse potential. Psychopharmacology. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4326558/
(June 2016) Xanax is Ruining People’s Lives. New York Post. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://nypost.com/2016/06/09/xanax-is-ruining-peoples-lives/
(June 2018) Korn’s Jonathan Davis On Xanax Addiction: ‘Benzos Are The Devil.’ Forbes. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://www.forbes.com/sites/derekscancarelli/2018/06/19/korns-jonathan-davis-on-xanax-addiction-benzos-are-the-devil/#58f3b80d33b6
(March 2018) Why is Snorting Drugs Dangerous? Verywell Mind. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-snorting-drugs-22107
(November 2010) Brain Damage from Benzodiazepines: The Troubling Facts, Risks, and History of Minor Tranquilizers. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/side-effects/201011/brain-damage-benzodiazepines-the-troubling-facts-risks-and-history-minor
(January 2015) On smoking benzodiazepine derivatives. Reddit. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://www.reddit.com/r/DrugNerds/comments/26rzla/on_smoking_benzodiazepine_derivatives/
(September 2017) Alprazolam. MedlinePlus. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
(March 2018) Benzodiazepines and Opioids. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved February 2019 from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids