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  • The brand name medication Xanax (alprazolam) is a frequently prescribed medication used for managing anxiety, panic disorders, and seizure disorders. But while the drug has a valid and important medical purpose, it is often abused for its intoxicating and anxiety-relieving effects.

    This tendency towards substance abuse has led to significant quantities of alprazolam being diverted and sold on the street, going by various slang terms and street names.

    Xanax Street Names & Slang Terms

    As with other drugs of abuse, the nicknames and code words that have developed to covertly describe Xanax tablets relate to the drug’s name, physical characteristics, or psychological effects.

    Common street names that refer to Xanax include:

    • xannies or zannies
    • z-bars or zanbars (some Xanax tablets are flattened cylinders in shape)
    • handlebars/bike parts
    • planks
    • ladders
    • French fries
    • totem poles
    • blue footballs (other Xanax tablets are oval shaped)
    • school bus (2.0mg Xanax tablets are yellow colored)
    • peaches (.5mg Xanax tablets are peach colored)
    • white girls/white boys (0.25 mg Xanax tablets are white in color)
    • Upjohn (the previous corporate identity for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer)

    Other Benzos Street Names

    Other benzodiazepine prescription drugs are also used and abused recreationally, leading to a number of generalized street names for benzodiazepine medications including benzos, chill pills, nerve pills, blues, and bars.

    Some of the more notorious of these drugs have also developed unique aliases, including:

    • Valium (diazepam): eggs, jellies, vallies, and moggies
    • Klonopin (clonazepam): k, k-kin, pin, super valium
    • Ativan (lorazepam): candy, sleeping pills, downers, tranks

    Why Xanax Abuse Occurs

    Alprazolam and similar benzodiazepine drugs don’t generate the overwhelming rush and euphoria of a stimulant high, and they don’t offer the same intense pleasure as opioids like heroin or fentanyl.

    But they can make a person feel an alcohol-like intoxication, or else a profound sense of calm, drowsiness, quiet, and peace. And many misuse Xanax not to get high, but to manage Xanax dependence or feed their Xanax addiction.

    Long-Term Effects Of Xanax Abuse

    Xanax is only recommended for short-term or as-needed use. Prolonged use of Xanax without medical approval is considered a form of drug abuse, and can cause long-term side effects that may include:

    • brain damage impacting inhibition and behavioral control, depression, suicide, memory, and cognition
    • heart palpitations and elevated heart rate
    • mental health issues
    • sweating
    • chills
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain or discomfort
    • dizziness or lightheadedness
    • symptoms of anxiety or panic
    • physiological dependence and eventual withdrawal symptoms

    Xanax & Polydrug Abuse

    Taking Xanax in greater quantities for recreational purposes, or taking it with other drugs of abuse, will tend to accelerate and intensify its unwanted and harmful side effects, while also greatly increasing your risk of harmful or life-threatening Xanax overdose.

    This polydrug abuse includes taking Xanax with alcohol, opioids/opiates, cannabis, MDMA/ecstasy, stimulants (including cocaine, methamphetamine, and ADHD medications like Adderall/amphetamine or Ritalin/methylphenidate), and others.

    Unfortunately, this deadly drug mixing often occurs as Xanax, a potent central nervous system depressant, is able to intensify the effects of other depressant drugs while partially reversing the anxiety, jitters, and other unwanted effects triggered by stimulant drugs.

    Xanax Addiction Treatment

    If you or a loved one live with Xanax addiction, we can help. Our inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment centers provide a variety of services that include detox, behavioral therapy, mental health counseling, and aftercare.

    For more information, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on October 20, 2022
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