Easy access to Xanax leads to spike in prescription drug abuse among youngsters

Easy access to Xanax leads to spike in prescription drug abuse among youngsters

Parenting has never been tougher than in the last decade or so. With the rise in drug and alcohol use among youngsters, both in schools and colleges, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure that students don’t abuse drugs. With legal and administrative checks in place, the sale, possession and consumption of illegal drugs are under control to quite an extent. However, what about those prescription drugs or plain old remedial painkillers lying around in most homes?

The suspension of around 765 students for abusing substances like Xanax, alcohol, marijuana, etc. in the past year throughout Sonoma County highlights the growing menace of prescription drug abuse. Xanax, an antianxiety medication belonging to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, have become a growing problem in the country. Known by various names like Xanax Bars, z-Bars, bars, planks, zanies or blue footballs due to its unique shape, it has emerged as a dangerous party drug among youngsters. Apparently, most youngsters get such drugs from their family’s medicine cabinet.

It is more so because of the predominant misconception that the use and abuse of Xanax is safer than other drugs. However, one needs to understand that Xanax is a prescription drug that needs to be consumed under the supervision of a doctor. Therefore, Xanax can turn lethal when consumed without the requisite prescription by a medical practitioner or mixed with other drugs. Moreover, it is a gateway drug leading to the abuse of other substances like heroin. Around 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription drugs.

How is Xanax abused?

In 1981, a pharmaceutical company named Upjohn came up with an antianxiety medication. Being a highly powerful benzodiazepine,  it has a calming effect on the central nervous system (CNS). It was no doubt quite useful, but it came with its own set of repercussions. It is an extremely addictive drug responsible for causing a plethora of problems, such as memory loss and blackouts. As a fast-acting drug, the psychoactive effects of benzodiazepines wear off rapidly, leaving the desire for more among users.

By 1983, Xanax had surpassed Valium as the most abused benzodiazepine and has retained that position ever since. The total number of prescriptions written for Xanax in 2002 was 29.9 million, which increased to a whopping 37.5 million by 2007. This in turn led to a massive 89 percent increase in the number of emergency room (ER) visits due to Xanax from 2004 to 2008.

A study indicated that around 31 percent of all the prescription drug overdoses involved benzodiazepines in 2013. What makes it deadlier is how easily this drug is available. Every home, more often than not has a stock of this drug at home, with parents never realising that their children might be sneaking some of it and using it for reasons it was not intended for.

Spread awareness to counter prescription drug abuse

According to a study, the nonmedical users of prescription drugs are at heightened risk for drug abuse, whereas medical users without a history of nonmedical use are generally not at increased risk. The users should be made more aware of the negative effects of Xanax to discourage the trend of popping pills. Some of the common side effects witnessed by Xanax users are as follows:

  • Depression, irritability, confusion and memory impairment
  • Drowsiness, low energy and fainting spells
  • Dizziness, blurred vision and headaches
  • Impaired coordination and abnormal involuntary movement
  • Decreased libido
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Insomnia and dream abnormalities
  • Chest pain and hyperventilation
  • Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea and constipation
  • Fluctuations in appetite and weight

Indulgence in drug abuse and addiction in early years of growth can cause seriously impair the brain by disrupting the development of his or her mental faculty. These ramifications can last a lifetime. Therefore, it is imperative that parents and peers alike learn to recognize the signs of Xanax addiction in a loved one without any judgments or bias to help him or her deal with the problem.

If you know someone who is addicted to opioids or any other prescription drugs, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline of California for finding the best prescription drug rehab centers in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 or chat online with one of our representatives to access relevant information on the leading prescription drug addiction treatment in California.