Xanax is a brand name for the drug Alprazolam, an anxiolytic meant to treat severe anxiety, panic disorders and insomnia. Xanax comes in both tablets and bars.
Their manufacturer (Pfizer) intentionally designed a distinct difference between the tablets (pills) and the bars. Tablets are less than 2mg and bars are over 2 mg. The exception is the three-milligram, extended release xanax tablets, that are stronger than any bar.
Xanax bars get their name from the horizontal lines creased into the pills and their “bar” sized shape.
They are bar-shaped tablets containing two milligrams of alprazolam. They are designed to be cut into four sections. They are not meant to be taken as one bar unless a doctor specifically prescribes this dosage. They can be white, green and yellow (generic alprazolam) in color.
Longer periods of abstaining from xanax often leads to severe depression, dehydration from vomiting and suicide ideation. Seizures may also affect xanax addicts who have taken more than four milligrams a day for several months as the central nervous system lacks the ability to return to normal functioning.
Going by street names like “yellow school bus” or “white ladders,” the bars come scored – either three or four serrations, so patients can take smaller portions of the 2mg dosage. Because of the higher potency, however, bars are a favorite on the black market and internet pharmacies.
Green Bars aka “Hulks”
Green Xanax Bars are often called “Hulks”. They release the drug more slowly than yellow or white xanax bars. “Hulks” provide reduced sedative effects than other bars since digestion of the drug occurs gradually. Unlike yellow or white bars, green bars are etched with just three lines instead of four. Some people think this means green bars are stronger because they have three lines but this is not the case.
Yellow Bars aka “School Buses”
Another popular type bar are yellow bars as they keep their potency longer than other colored xanax bars and do not contain the small amount of caffeine found in some xanax tablets. Yellow bars are available as rapid or instant release.
White Bars aka “Sticks”
As immediate release bar, white bars aka “sticks” produce extreme sedation within minutes of ingestion. Xanax addicts prefer white bars because they work faster, are not generic and offer purer alprazolam than colored bars.
Tablets come in various colors including blue, pink and peach-colored. They contain less than two milligrams of xanax and are still as addictive as bars.
- Blue xanax are one milligram elliptical tablets
- Orange xanax are oval-shaped pills in both .25mg and .5mg
- Pink xanax are .5 milligram pills with a line etched in the middle
The most common form of abuse is to swallow more than the recommended dose. Using Xanax illicitly can quickly lead to tolerance and dependence. People abusing benzodiazepines will often chew or crush and then snort them. These methods of misuse tend to speed up the tranquilizing “high” xanax has on the central nervous system.
- Smoking crushed Xanax or injecting it after its liquefied is by no means safer.
Xanax abusers prefer bars because they provide more intense hypnotic effects than traditional xanax tablets. Misuse or abuse of Xanax, especially in tandem with alcohol and other drugs, is not just addictive. It can be life threatening as well.
The National Institutes of Health report a steady increase in xanax and other benzodiazepine related overdose in the last decade, with an estimated 9,000 deaths in 2015 alone. While there might not be a steady stream of headlines about xanax, there’s no safe method for abusing it. Addiction to benzodiazepines is treatable and individuals seeking help should not be stigmatized or feel any shame for needing help.
A study, published in April 2016 by the American Journal of Public Health, reports a 67 percent increase in anti-anxiety prescriptions, like Xanax, Valium and Ativan, between 1996 and 2013. Researchers also note that the rate of fatal overdose during the same period spiked.
- “If we’re going to address the prescription drug crisis,” Dr. Marcus Bachhuber, the author of the study, told the New York Times, “we can’t just focus on opioids. We need to think more broadly about other drugs, like benzodiazepines.”
Though it’s taken a “backseat” to headlines about the opioid epidemic, the spotlight still, occasionally, lands on alprazolam, aka xanax. The habit-forming benzodiazepine targets overactive neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for some anxiety and panic disorders brought on by depression.
As with any black market or overseas purchase of illegal drugs, xanax users risk ingesting tainted pills that might contain any number of unknown chemicals that can create dangerous side effects.
Taking too much Xanax can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms and come with a host of adverse side effects. Another danger to abusing xanax are the withdrawal symptoms affecting addicts who cannot access their drug of choice.
People with a high tolerance for the bars may feel the onset of withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours of taking their last bar. Nausea and vomiting, anxiety, panic, muscle tremors, fever and insomnia are classic xanax withdrawal signs.
These can include:
- Confusion, dizziness, impaired coordination
- Unconsciousness and coma
- Seizures and hallucinations
- Slowed heart beat and difficulty breathing
Fakes aka “Counterfeits”
Less than two years ago, San Francisco health officials advised people not to buy xanax on the street. A batch of bars laced with fentanyl, a potentially deadly opioid much more powerful than morphine, killed four people and put several others in the hospital. Overdose survivors of the counterfeit xanax experienced fluid in the lungs, muscle breakdown and weakness in their extremities, all of which can lead to liver failure.
Overdosing on xanax is more likely when you take bars instead of tablets simply because the onset of sedation and suppression of central nervous system functioning is quicker and stronger.
Signs of an overdose include;
- extreme drowsiness
- periodic unconsciousness
- slowed breathing & heart rate
- vomiting while unconscious
Without medical emergency treatment, a xanax overdose patient could suffer seizures or lapse into a coma.
- If you or someone else think you might have taken too much Xanax, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911.
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