Benzodiazepine addiction is on the increase, especially among youth. Recently, twenty teenagers from Wiltshire required emergency medical treatment after taking Xanax for recreational purposes. Xanax is a tranquiliser designed to relieve tension and anxiety in users. Its active ingredient is a benzodiazepine called alprazolam, and it is potentially highly addictive.

Xanax is only available on private prescription from a medical professional, and the NHS does not offer it as a treatment option. It falls in the same category as diazepam and lorazepam. Although it is not freely available, people are using it in amounts that do not make sense for prescription drugs. Inspector Peter Sparrow from Wiltshire Police explains: “The quantities we’re hearing are being used are such that you can’t be just reselling stuff that’s been prescribed to mum or dad, so this is only going to be sourced through the internet. You would have to go through the dark web, which obviously raises further concerns, because you don’t actually know what it is they’re buying.”

Why Is Xanax So Popular?

Xanax has been made popular in the rap culture by artists such as Chance the Rapper. It was also the cause of death of the Asap Mob member, Asap Yams in 2015. Chance the Rapper recently said about his addiction to Xanax, “I was Xanned out every day – I was a Xan-zombie not doing anything productive. So think about, like, how could you even do that?”

What Are the Risks of Recreational Use of Xanax?

Benzodiazepines need to be taken in very controlled circumstances and your usage of it should be monitored by a medical professional if you are taking it on prescription. The problem with recreational use is that it is mixed and combined with other substances such as alcohol. Although Xanax on its own is unlikely to be fatal, mixed with alcohol it is extremely dangerous and could end up being lethal.

Snorting Xanax has severe consequences for your nasal passages and is not a safe way of ingesting the substance. Side effects of this kind of use are difficulty in breathing, vomiting and constipation.

Many users crush the pills and smoke it with marijuana. This is a very risky method of taking the substance as you will be inhaling not only the benzodiazepine and marijuana but also the fillers and binders of the tablet. This could lead to serious problems and increases the risk of death significantly.

Smoking Xanax poses significant health risks for the user. By smoking the pill, you will reach a high faster because the active ingredients reach your brain quicker, but it also holds very serious side-effects for the user:

  • You may experience erratic mood changes
  • As Xanax is a tranquiliser, you will feel lethargic and drowsy
  • You may experience muscle twitches
  • In some cases, you may feel agitated
  • You may also suffer from seizures.


How Will I Know If My Child or Loved One Is Addicted to Benzodiazepines?

Just like any other addiction, benzodiazepine addiction requires money. If your child or loved one is using more money than usual and they cannot account for what they have bought with it, you should be suspicious about where the money is going to. They may also borrow money from different people in order to pay for their drugs.

As they cannot get the prescription legally, they will also need to contact someone who can ‘organise’ a prescription for them or get the drugs on the internet for them. They will become secretive and have many unexplained, short phone calls and trips out of the house without explanation as to where they are going and who they will be seeing.

There are many other symptoms that you could look out for, but the best approach is to phone an addiction specialist like Liberty House Clinic if you have any concerns about your child and any potential drug use.

Where Can I Get Help?

When you have determined that your child or loved one is addicted to benzodiazepines such as Xanax, you need to get help as soon as possible. Xanax is highly addictive and has several health risks attached to it. Give Liberty House Clinic’s careline a call as soon as you find out about the addiction – or even if you suspect an addiction. Trained and experienced staff will answer your questions and give you guidance on what your next steps should be.

We can arrange for immediate admission to the clinic if it is required, and our friendly therapists and counsellors will help you with the detox and withdrawal process. When you have completed the treatment programme, we also offer an aftercare programme to help you stay clean and sober during the first year after treatment. Of course, aftercare can be extended for as long as it is deemed necessary by your therapist.

Give us a call today!


  1. (Wealth for my Health) Xanax For Recreational Use – 7 Dangers
  2. (BBC) What you need to know about Xanax