Xanax: How the Younger Generation Got Hooked on ‘Bars’

Man on a floor at home

It’s feasible to look at our current drug crisis and only see opioid and methamphetamine addiction. Sure, those drugs make a ton of headlines with mass overdoses, giant smuggling busts, and a constant “cat and mouse game” with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. But there’s more to the story. In most middle-class, suburban neighborhoods, a dark secret is kept behind closed doors, swept under the carpet when company comes over, or downed with a glass of wine or whiskey when no one’s looking.

Xanax has become increasingly popular as the drug epidemic has trudged on. The reason for the increase is simple; it’s an easily attainable drug that most doctors have little issue prescribing, it’s legal, and nowadays, fairly socially acceptable.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is part of a group of drugs known as “benzodiazepines,” which act as mild to moderate tranquilizers, often prescribed to help mitigate the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Since there is no objective testing to prove the existence of an anxiety or panic disorder, most evaluations are done subjectively, on the word of the patient. This makes it easy for patients to get prescribed drugs like Xanax, Klonipin, or Valium. If a patient who is purely med-seeking is a good enough actor or actress and can “talk the talk,” more than likely, they can woo a medical professional into giving them these strong drugs.

Years back, this type of medication was popular among moms, housewives, and retirees. Even as far back as the 1950s, Valium was known as “mother’s little helper.” Now, these drugs are not only popular within the same demographic, but kids are getting their hands on them because they’re sitting right there in the family medicine cabinet. Along with meth and fentanyl, Xanax now sits among the ranks of the most highly abused drugs.

Kid holds xanax pill

What doesn’t help is that some of our youth are almost encouraged by pop culture to “pop xannies” or “get barred out.” If you look at some of the so-called “opinion leaders” of some of today’s kids, you’ll see what I’m talking about. However, I’m not here to bash musicians or actors. No matter what they disseminate, it’s not their fault at the end of the day if someone chooses to take drugs. The responsibility for that decision, to take potentially harmful drugs, lies in the hands of the person. Of course, negative influences don’t help either.

I believe it’s important, especially for families with children, that they know what potential harm the unused drugs in their medicine cabinet can cause, and it’s important they know what drugs are out there that could potentially harm someone they love.

Symptoms of Xanax Abuse

  • Being forgetful
  • Changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Difficulty with coordination
  • Discouragement
  • Drowsiness
  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Relaxed and calm
  • Shakiness and unsteady walk
  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble performing routine tasks

In cases where a person accustomed to using Xanax or similar drugs abruptly ceases taking the medication, a grand-mal seizure can potentially occur during the withdrawal process.

It’s extremely important to watch your family, and if you notice any of the above symptoms of Xanax abuse, reach out to a treatment center to get help for your loved one. Even though it’s a prescription drug, and many people do take it safely and responsibly, it does have the potential to be not only harmful but highly addictive.




Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.