Xanax (Alprazolam) Route Of Administration

Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is a very effective treatment for specific mental health problems, but it is also routinely misused to get highs that are more potent. Xanax abuse can involve different routes of administration, each with its own dangers.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a powerful benzodiazepine used to provide short-term relief from mental health problems such as panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression.

It works by depressing the central nervous system, so the side effects of Xanax can include mild sedation or drowsiness when taken as prescribed.

However, Xanax is also highly addictive and Xanax substance abuse is common among adolescents and those who engage in cocaine and heroin abuse.

Xanax addiction often co-occurs with alcohol abuse or the use of opioids such as fentanyl.

While Xanax is commonly taken orally as a pill (the form in which it is manufactured), there are other methods of abuse.

Xanax Methods Of Abuse

Prescription drug use in general, and abuse of alprazolam in particular, is prevalent among adolescents and young adult people who engage in drug abuse. They typically swallow it in pill form.

But as the desire grows for a more potent high that has a quicker onset rate, people who experience Xanax addiction may try other methods of taking the drug.

Snorting Xanax

The most common alternative route of administration is snorting Xanax. The pills can be crushed and snorted up a nostril similar to snorting cocaine.

When the drug enters through the nasal passageways, it makes its way to the brain faster than when it is swallowed.

However, one of the reasons Xanax is popular for anxiety is that it works quickly even when taken as a pill.

Smoking Xanax

Smoking prescription drugs has become more popular among young adults who abuse drugs and represents a step deeper into the world of drug use.

Smoking Xanax represents a faster method of onset than swallowing pills or snorting it, because it is absorbed through the lungs.

Injecting Xanax

The fastest method of drug onset is through injection. However, it is less common for people to inject Xanax than to take it through other means.

The reason for this is mostly practical. Xanax pills are not water-soluble, so it takes some effort to turn them into a solution that can be injected. For example, people will dissolve them in alcohol.

Why Do People Abuse Xanax?

People abuse Xanax by taking higher doses because of the potent relief it provides from stress or concerns. Perhaps this is why Xanax abuse, and abuse of other benzos, is popular among teens.

Xanax addiction is also a risk factor among those with mental illness who have been prescribed the drug for a legitimate purpose.

Is One Method Of Xanax Abuse More Dangerous Than Others?

Of all the methods of taking Xanax, injecting the drug is likely the most dangerous.

An injection of alprazolam has been known to cause a micro embolism (a small particle gets stuck in a vein), because Xanax does not dissolve well.

The problem with any form of Xanax abuse is that seeking higher doses of the drug increases the risk of overdose.

This is especially true of alternate methods of use in which the effects of Xanax are intensified.

Xanax overdose symptoms that require medical care can include:

  • extreme sleepiness
  • increased heart rate
  • impairment of coordination

At its most severe, a Xanax overdose can result in a coma and death.

Treatment Programs For Xanax Abuse

Addiction treatment is available for Xanax drug abuse. Substance abuse treatment at a professional treatment center can take many different forms.

Some Xanax misuse treatment options may include:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • medical detox
  • management of withdrawal symptoms
  • help with physical dependence
  • evidence-based treatment
  • support groups

Stopping Xanax abuse requires more than getting over withdrawal symptoms or breaking physical dependence. It means doing a deep dive into the factors that drove you to addiction in the first place.

This is the role of evidence-based therapy and support groups and is a necessary component of overcoming any substance use disorder.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a family member needs addiction treatment, you can find help at Bedrock Recovery Center, a treatment center located in Massachusetts.

We have years of experience treating prescription medication abuse like addiction to benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium (diazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam).

Call our helpline today to get help for you or your loved one.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Benzodiazepenes-2020_1.pdf
  2. Journal of Adolescent Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4442270/
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  4. Pew https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/08/24/teen-xanax-abuse-is-surging
  5. Pharmacology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4326558/
  6. Radiology Case Reports https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4891562/

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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