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Emergency Rooms Have Seen an Increase in Xanax Abuse

Tina Robinson3 years ago

More and more Americans are treated for injuries related to alprazolam abuse in emergency rooms each year, according to a recent Medscape article. The article cites a new study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which observed a dramatic increase of  alprazolam-related accidents over a five-year span.

About the Alprazolam Study

Alprazolam, known commonly as Xanax, Xanax XR, and Niravam) is a sedative used to treat anxiety. SAMHSA looked at incidences of nonmedical use of alprozolam which led to treatment in emergency rooms. Nonmedical uses of the drug include:

  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking drugs that were prescribed to another person
  • Someone deliberately drugging someone else
  • Documented misuse or abuse

The SAMHSA study found that between 2005 and 2011, alprazolam-related injuries doubled from 57,419 in 2005 to 124,902 in 2010. Medscape also noted other startling facts about alprazolam abuse:

  • 81% of alprazolam-related injuries involved other drugs (both legal and illegal) or alcohol; 63% of those patients used alprazolam with another prescription medication, including 36% with painkillers such as oxycodone.
  • SAMHSA saw visits involving alprazolam increase three-fold in the 25-34-year-old age group between 2005-2011. In 2011, that age group accounted for 32% of all emergency room visits.

The article also noted that alprozolam is “significantly more toxic” than other drugs of its kind when taken in doses larger than prescribed. When combined with narcotic pain killers the effect of the drugs on the body are “dangerously enhanced.” 

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