In 2013, the Chicago Tribune famously researched the abuse of Xanax, prevalently in young adult. This research revealed that 31% of drug overdoses were due to these types of drugs, benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines include (but are not limited to) drugs such as Xanax, Ambien, Vicodin, and morphine.
Essentially what researchers found demonstrated the powerful way these types of drugs all slow down the mind and body. In 2013, there was a 5% increase in prescriptions for drugs such as the previous listed, and as a result, a four-times greater death rate of drug overdose resulted in the United States.
Xanax—medically known as alprazolam, is a form of benzodiazepines that is used to treat those patients with extreme anxiety and tendency to fall victim to panic attacks. Benzodiazepines target neurotransmitters—more specifically the GABA brain receptors, which are responsible for calming nerves.
When your nerves are overreacting, this creates the sense of panic many patients feel during panic attacks. GABA also is responsible for demonstrating how physically tired and relaxed the rest of your body is.
Essentially, Xanax can act during a panic attack and as a result, calm the nerves, leading to a much safer and less extreme attack. It ultimately decreases brain activity—thus leading to the sense of calm and relaxed feelings many get when they ingest the drug.
Xanax can be a powerful tool in helping many of those who suffer from panic disorders, phobias, or extreme anxiety to not feel so desperate and reactive during their panic attacks, however, when taken with no such disorder, the drug creates a euphoric sense of relaxation and quickly becomes addictive.
I’m in no way an expert on the drug—seeing that I’ve never been prescribed it or taken it, but I do live on a college campus and I’ve observed several key patterns when dealing with Xanax on college campuses.
For one, no one I’ve ever met who’s tried it has tried it just once. Take that in for just a second. Yes, I have friends who have never taken it, but the people I’ve interacted with who have almost rarely never say it was a “one-time thing.”
The drug is addictive. Whether one believes they can handle themselves and enjoy it recreationally, something is to be said with the lack of people I’ve met who have just taken it once.
Drugs in the benzodiazepines are extremely addictive—which is why we’ve seen so many of our most famous celebrities fall victim to an overdose. Stars such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Prince are just a few of the long list of celebrities who have died from an overdose of benzodiazepines.
Most of the time, Xanax taken alone is not cause for an overdose (although there have been cases of it), however from my experience in college, people I’ve heard about or known who overdosed, every time Xanax was a part of the lethal cocktail.
This in no way suggests a direct correlation, however, it is curious to note how many times Xanax has helped the victim to their death. For example, the famous emo-hip hip artist Lil Peep famously died in Tucson after purchasing Xanax which consequently was laced with fentanyl. As a result, both the drugs combined to create such low brain activity that Lil Peep simply never woke up.
A common story we’ve all heard is how dangerous drinking and taking Xanax can be. In addition to causing death, drinking alcohol and taking Xanax can cause blackouts, respiratory issues, and seriously hurt your body by limiting oxygen and blood flow. There have been countless cases of college students doing serious damage on their bodies because of mixing the two depressants.
While in no way I’m saying this drug is bad, it is extremely dangerous. Xanax is like many prescription drugs that have both the power to do good and bad. The danger lurks in taking prescriptions that are simply not yours. Xanax is a dangerous thing for young people to abuse, especially as none of them are registered pharmacists and have no way of absolutely determining an accurate amount to take. This article is in no way supposed to scare, judge, or discipline those who abuse the drug or even those who have never tried it.
If you or a loved one are concerned about potential abuse of Xanax, contact the Xanax-abuse hotline at (844) 244-3171. My heart and prayers go out to those who have been affected by drugs such as Xanax. The only way to stop this is through better education and less ignorance.