Xanax and Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

Xanax and Alcohol: A Deadly Combination

In recent years, as the use of prescription medication has proliferated in the United States, so too have the abuse of and overdose from many of these substances.

Prescription-drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the U.S., says a report issued last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same report states that in 2007, there were roughly 27,000 unintentional deaths from drug overdoses—or one death every 19 minutes.

But of all the things that people ingest, there are few combinations more life-threatening than alcohol and Xanax, a benzodiazepine in the class of sedatives such as Valium and Klonopin.

What Makes Xanax and Alcohol a Deadly Combination?

When taken together, Xanax and alcohol have what’s known as an additive effect, which means that in the presence of Xanax, alcohol is made more potent than it would be alone.

Both Xanax and alcohol work by depressing the central nervous system of the body, reducing the activity of several mental functions, such as thought, memory, coordination, and respiration.

Alcohol alone doesn’t have that limit, because often times people will pass out before they drink enough alcohol for it to be lethal. When you take the two together and you have a totally different picture – Xanax and Alcohol: a deadly combination.

Prescription drugs and alcohol can be a dangerous combination. Alcohol interacts with anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, intensifying the drugs’ sedative effects, causing drowsiness and dizziness, and making falls and accidents more likely. A 2010 study published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health reported that automobile drivers were much more likely to weave and speed if they were under the influence of drugs like Xanax in addition to alcohol than if they had consumed alcohol alone.

How it Works

Your usual three drinks is actually like drinking six. And because of the additive effect of combining the two substances, it becomes impossible to know just how your body will absorb the alcohol you’ve ingested. Throw in other factors—sleep deprivation, an empty stomach, a cold—and the mixture is made all the more unpredictable and deadly.

Xanax and alcohol is the most deadly combination because it can cause amnesia. So not only is it does this combination affect respiratory function, the amnesic effect it causes is just as deadly. People die accidentally in the truest sense of the word: they don’t remember how many drinks they had, or how many pills they took.

 Why Xanax, in particular

In fact, it is this same rapid action that makes Xanax the most addictive of the benzodiazepines, many neuroscientists believe, providing the sensation of a high more so than other drugs of its class.

Other people start taking prescription drugs just to get high, perhaps in part because they have the false notion that prescription drugs are safer to experiment with than are illicit drugs.

Any benzodiazepine is highly dangerous in combination with alcohol, but Xanax is perhaps the most dangerous, because it is more fast-acting than the others. Because Xanax and alcohol both work on the brain at a rapid-fire pace, their mutually enhancing effect is bolstered compared to slower-acting benzodiazepines, which peaks in the brain more slowly, after the effect of the alcohol may have already begun to decline.









If you need help with your addiction give us a call now at 1-800-984-4003.

Pharm Parties

Pharm Parties

You may be surprised to know that prescription drugs have been used by teens for a long time before pharm parties were even a known term.  In fact, the first studies showed an increased use of tranquilizers way back in the middle of the 1980’s, and dramatic increases in sedative use from 1995 to the year 2000 followed.

Lately the prescription drug abuse has gotten more press because the first time users of prescription drugs are now occurring at the same rate as first-time marijuana users, and teens are now more likely than adults to abuse prescription drugs.

When asked about prescription drug use, about one-third of teens say they feel pressured to at least try them. Others admit they want to get high; it may be a means of escape, a way of relieving boredom, or simple curiosity. Still others say abuse of prescription drugs helps them deal with stress, anxiety, depression, or the pressures of school.

These are the same reasons many teens had for using illicit drugs of any kind such as heroin, cocaine, or marijuana. They have turned to prescription drugs because they have the assumption that because the drugs are prescribed by a doctor they must be safer than illicit drugs.

Just like teens may hang out and drink or smoke marijuana. Go to keg parties and smoke the occasional blunt, they may also hang out and use prescription drugs together. These parties instead of keg parties have been labeled pharm parties by the media, though few teenagers would call them that. The media coined the term pharm parties not the kids doing it.

Many parents have never heard the term “pharm” party.  Short for pharmaceutical party, these gatherings bring together teens who have raided the medicine cabinets of family and friends.  The prescription drugs at these supposed pharm parties, that are misused by teenagers typically come from their own homes. If the teens themselves don’t have medications, the parents do. And few parents track their prescriptions well enough to know if a few pills are missing. Teens only have to go as far as their medicine cabinets to find the stuff to make a pharm party happen.

The host provides a large bowl.  All the pills are tossed into the bowl and each teen grabs a handful of pills to swallow.  To add to the danger, the pills are often taken using some alcoholic beverage to wash them down. Alcohol and one drug can be a lethal combination.  Alcohol and an unstable mix of various drugs is a more potent killer.

There’s actually little evidence to even prove the existence of “pharm parties” as described by the media, yet prescription drug abuse among teenagers is still a growing issue. Teens may not get together for pharm parties with the single intention of just getting a candy bowl filled with pills, but when there’s a party, prescription drugs are most often involved, especially since they’re easier to get than either alcohol or marijuana for those that are underage.

Pharm parties may be a media term when it comes to what is actually going on but one thing is clear; the youth of America is becoming more and more of a pill generation than any other generation before and who knows maybe the media will be accurate about their pharm parties in the near future.




If you need help with your addiction give us a call now at 1-800-984-4003.