No, you cannot shoot or inject Xanax into any part of the body under any circumstances. There is no way to do this safely. If you attempt this, you are at risk of facing costly consequences, including death.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and phobias. Of all the drugs in the benzodiazepine class, Xanax is among the most popular; it is also the most prescribed. Data from a 2016 Reuters report shows that Xanax prescriptions more than tripled during a 20-year period.
Overprescribing benzo medications have made it easier for them to land in the wrong hands that use them for the wrong purposes. The U.S. Controlled Substances Act recognizes Xanax as a drug with potential for misuse and abuse, which is why it is a Schedule IV drug. It is intended for short-term use under a doctor’s prescription, but anyone who takes it should be aware of its highly addictive nature.
How Xanax Affects the Body
The drug, which comes as an extended-release tablet and a concentrated liquid, allows users to relax shortly after taking it. This relaxed feeling allows them to get to sleep or go about their daily tasks without disruptions. After it is ingested, it acts quickly in the body. It binds to certain gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, slowing down nerve cell activity.
Within an hour or so, users will start to feel calm as the brain and central nervous system relax. The drug, which is intended for short-term use, can remain in the body for about 11 hours on average in healthy adults, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Those who abuse Xanax feel euphoria in addition to calm. They also can experience disturbing dreams, amnesia, hostility, and irritability. Taking Xanax for longer periods than prescribed or in larger amounts than recommended can lead to a hard-to-end drug dependence. Those who use the sedative recreationally are especially at risk of developing Xanax addiction. Should they decide to stop, they may find it quite difficult to do so without professional help.
People commonly feel the following after taking Xanax
- Cognitive processing problems
- Coordination problems
- Slowed reflexes
- Memory impairment
Shooting Xanax Can Expose Users to Lethal Doses
It is common for recreational users to crush benzodiazepine tablets so that they can snort, smoke, or inject them intravenously (into a vein under the skin). Some users do this to achieve a stronger high faster or make a high last longer. However, while this gets them on a faster track to a stronger high, it also speeds up the chance that they could harm themselves.
Changing a Xanax tablet’s form allows users to bypass the drug’s safety mechanisms. This means the drug’s potent effects will enter the body all at once, which is very dangerous. As Prescrire International notes, opening a capsule or crushing it changes the drug’s absorption rate, which could lead to a fatal overdose.
Once injected into the body, the effects of Xanax will overwhelm the brain in amounts that were never intended. Shooting Xanax into the body also makes it harder to gauge how much is being used. Using the drug in this manner really is taking chances with one’s life.
Crushing up Xanax can also expose the person to drug particles that could be cancerous or poisonous. A person abusing Xanax in this way could also have an allergic reaction they did not anticipate. Allergic reactions can also occur when the drug is used as intended. Emergency care is needed to treat allergic reactions. “Signs may include swelling of the face, lips, throat, and tongue and difficulty breathing,” Healthline writes.
Other Ways Xanax Is Abused
Besides crushing up the drug, people can abuse Xanax by taking it orally in larger amounts than recommended. This could include chewing tablets. It is also common for people to use benzos like Xanax along with alcohol or other potent prescription medications, such as opioid pain relievers. Polydrug abuse is common on the recreational drug scene, but mixing drugs can affect the body in predictable and unpredictable ways. Mixing Xanax with alcohol, for example, can cause someone to lose track of how much of the drug they are using.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost all of the 6,982 benzodiazepine deaths that 23 U.S. states reported between January 2020 and June 2020, 92.7% involved opioids. Mixing benzos with opioids and/or alcohol will depress a person’s breathing and heart rate to the point where they will lose consciousness and either fall into a coma or die. It is never safe to abuse any substance, no matter how it’s used.
If you or someone you know has been crushing Xanax to inject it or use it in any manner described above, it is time to consider getting professional help for a substance use disorder. This could be just the move needed to save a life. Using Xanax or any other drug in this manner comes with life-threatening risks.
How to Tell If You Have a Xanax Addiction
If Xanax abuse has led to addiction, there are ways to tell. While it could be hard to detect at first, eventually, signs can become noticeable as they affect almost every area of one’s life.
Physical signs of addiction include:
- Excessive sleepiness, drowsiness
- Dry mouth, dry throat
- Tremors (the shakes)
- Depressed breathing
- Swollen arms, legs
- Blurred vision or seeing double
- Slurred speech
In addition to using the drug in ways it wasn’t intended, other signs of Xanax abuse include the following:
- Taking Xanax frequently or more often than prescribed
- Taking Xanax in larger amounts than prescribed
- Using someone else’s Xanax prescription
- Engaging in “doctor shopping,” such as trying to get Xanax prescriptions from more than one doctor
- Feeling like you can’t get through the day without using Xanax
- Hiding or lying about your Xanax use
- Failing to stop using Xanax use despite multiple tries
- Experiencing Xanax withdrawal when not using the drug
The psychological symptoms of Xanax addiction include paranoia, confusion, memory problems, and hallucinations.
Getting Help For Xanax Addiction
If you want to end your dependence on Xanax after long-term or frequent use of the drug, you are encouraged to seek treatment now. However, if you are thinking about stopping the use of the drug abruptly in an attempt to “go cold turkey,” we recommend that you don’t do that. Go to a treatment center and start a professional drug detox where you can be monitored closely as your body rids itself of the drug(s) you have been using.
Xanax withdrawal can result in life-threatening seizures, which is why you should not detox on your own without professional medical help. If you or someone you know is having trouble breathing or feels like your heart is racing either before, during, or after Xanax use, call 911 and seek immediate medical treatment.
Xanax Treatment: What Does It Involve?
Your treatment will start with an assessment of your unique physical and mental needs so that your recovery program benefits you. Medical detox is usually the first stop. This phase of recovery is managed by clinicians who will help you gain medical stability as you go through the withdrawal period. You could be given medications to ease uncomfortable symptoms. You also could be put on a tapering schedule that gives your body time to adjust to having less of the drug in its system.
After you’ve finished detox, an addiction treatment program that helps you move forward in your recovery will be recommended. A team of professionals will work with you to help you achieve the understanding and tools you need to reach sobriety full time and maintain it. These tools include various therapies and relapse prevention techniques. If you have a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, it will be addressed in treatment as well. An inpatient/residential program could be recommended if your substance use disorder is moderate to severe.
Other treatment settings are available for users in varying stages of substance use. After treatment, people in recovery can use aftercare services to help them adjust to the real world after leaving a facility. They also can continue receiving support on an outpatient basis.
Arete Recovery Will Help You Put Xanax Addiction Behind You
If you are ready to stop Xanax misuse and abuse today, Arete Recovery is ready to help you. Our facility is a full-service residential center. We offer medical detox and inpatient treatment. We also share a campus with our sister facility Vista Pines Health, so our team can help you if you have co-occurring disorders. Give us a call today to get started on exploring your options, verifying your insurance benefits, and more. We are ready to answer any questions you have and help you in any way we can.