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Xanax-related ER visits double in 6 years
May 22nd, 2014
07:32 AM ET

Xanax-related ER visits double in 6 years

Alprazolam, the prescription sedative more commonly known by its brand name, Xanax, is being implicated in a spiraling number of emergency room visits, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Over the past few years, the number of ER visits associated with misuse of the drug more than doubled. In 2005, the number of patient cases involving Xanax was 57,419, and by 2011 (the last year for which there is data), there were 123,744.

"We have been clamping down on opiates (prescription painkillers) but Xanax is becoming a fast-riser in the game," said Dr. Howard Mell, an emergency room physician based in Cleveland, Ohio.

"It's not even a little surprising," he said of the new figures. "I wish it was."

In 2011, 1.2 million visits to the emergency room involved prescription drug misuse and abuse. And, according the report, alprazolam was involved in 10% of those visits.

Part of alprazolam's fast rise: It is a go-to anti-anxiety drug for psychiatrists and primary care physicians. According to recent studies, Xanax was the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in 2011.

And with its addictive qualities, abuse is common, said Mell, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The most common drug combinations he encounters in ER patients are Xanax and alcohol, and Xanax combined with prescription opiates like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

According to the SAMHSA report, in 81% of cases, alprazolam was mixed with another drug (including alcohol).

"Alprazolam...has been shown to be significantly more toxic than other benzodiazepines," a class of anxiety medications that includes Valium, "if more than the prescribed amount is taken," according to the report.

The impact - what leads patients to the emergency room - is the sedating effect of each of these drugs. When one sedative (Xanax) is added to another (alcohol or painkillers) there is what is called a synergistic effect, with each drug amplifying the other.

To use a mathematical analogy - instead of 1+1 equaling 2, 1+1 equals 5. The worst case scenario for a patient is that he or she stops breathing.

"If you're someone taking Xanax and you take an extra before going out Saturday night, then have a couple of mixed drinks, it's going to hit you much faster," said Mell. "It's going to cause an interaction that could be deadly."

Mell says his typical patient is not the "pimply-faced" kid you might expect to be abusing drugs. His overdose patients, he says, are soccer moms, local politicians and business leaders.

"They think because the drugs (are) given out by doctors that they can handle it," he said. "They figure 'I wouldn't put anything in my medicine cabinet that's unsafe to take,' and that's just not true."

Between 2005 and 2011, according to the SAMHSA report, the age group most likely to show up in the ER as a result of alprazolam was 25 to 34 year olds. In 2005, about 12,731 visits were among that age group, but by 2011 that number had risen to 39,651.


soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. mrsmontanez

    Reblogged this on Bipolar Mom, Authoress.

    May 22, 2014 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Grin

    A lot of those ER visits are patients Seeking Xanax and other controlled substances. Once they obtain them, from whatever source, they abuse them – then hit the ER again for the consequences of mixed substance abuse.

    May 22, 2014 at 09:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • scotty501

      You are very dumb. ERs seldom give out controlled substances and when they do its very limited. ER doctors are trained to recognize addicts. Few people will wait 10 hours in an ER and pay hundreds of dollars for 3 pain pills etc

      May 23, 2014 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
    • Your post is simply incorrect

      Sorry, but you are just plain wrong. The ER only dispenses a single dose. While the patient is in the ER.

      May 23, 2014 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Holly

      You can get anything at any ER now if you write a complaint to the right person or yell loud enough. Ask any benzo-abuser, they have learned exactly how to work the ER's protocol of not treating chronic issues.

      May 24, 2014 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • mrlarson11

      Don't overstep your knowledge, Grin. You're perspective of society is incoherent to reality. ER visits differ greatly to doctor visits, where ER brings in patience under x-condition with results to usually prove. If a patient is faking a condition in the ER and requests xanax, where results prove negative, than they have just penalized their self. Hence, someone seeking xanax avoids the ER and instead will provoke an individual with health insurance to meet with their doctor in order to receive the RX for them, or just attend a UC or doctor themselves.

      November 24, 2014 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
  3. el1x

    I wonder how many cases of Xanax abuse leads someone into the hospital during WDs (withdrawals) from Xanax.

    Xanax is a wonderful medication – probably one of the most effective anxiolytics on the market. Yet at the same time, it can create ridiculous rebound effects of even worse anxiety than one started with, along with the possibility for tremors, seizures, etc. Add alcohol to the mix *without* Xanax to someone addicted to Xanax, and it actually may make the problem worse, not better.

    Mixing with opiates is just stupid – not really sure what the line of reasoning is on that one.

    In any event, those on Xanax should be prescribed something less potent and longer lasting like Valium (diazepam) or Klonopin (Clonazepam)–these drugs being much easier to get off too.

    May 22, 2014 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • scotty501

      Since when is Valium less POTENT than Xanax?

      May 23, 2014 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • Beentheredonethat

      In my case, it wasn't a mental addition but my body had become used to the dose prescribed and taken as directed. For months I was trying to figure out why my body was telling me "OMG! Panic attack!" when I wasn't under any stress. My husband and I figured it out on Christmas morning, so I treated the revelation as a gift. The withdrawal/detox simply sucked for a couple of weeks before it was out of my body altogether.

      The occasion also made me realize it was time to taper from Cymbalta, which is an entire beast itself. So far I have spent the last four months going from 60 mg daily to 20 mg. My energy levels are back up and I'm learning how to feel and deal with managing emotions as they come. As far as WD symptoms, think of it as rebooting the nervous system.

      May 23, 2014 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • lalunaunita

      Beentheredonethat: THANK YOU for sharing your story. Many people feel trapped in a spiral they can't control with regard to prescription drugs. I appreciate your honesty and applaud your efforts to get to a place of balance that you can maintain on your own without medication. Medications should be used to aid full healing, and it appears that this is the destination you're headed for. Thank you again.

      May 23, 2014 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • squirk

      I used to take an old benzo called tranxene and it was very safe and has a decent half-life. it was given to me for anxiety and it worked very well.this was back in the 90's. Might it be a good strategy for docs to give folks with anxiety something like this where abuse potential is not as high? So tranxene is a very old med,,,but perhaps safer?

      May 27, 2014 at 01:30 | Report abuse |
  4. James B.

    Good thing weed is illegal.

    May 22, 2014 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. williamrussellmorley

    if weed is basically legal we must have somebody to fill in as scapegoat , mormon tea for example – these control freaks are liars, take as prescribed ya know like um driving the speed limit, etc

    May 23, 2014 at 05:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jack M

    Please note that these ER visits are from abuse, not use, of the drug. Abuse of any drug can land you in the hospital.

    May 23, 2014 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lifelieswaiting

      I took the drug precisely as prescribed. No abuse. My doctor wanted me to stop, but he had me taper much too quickly. I seized. That's how I ended up in the E.R. To think that only addicts can get in trouble with benzodiazepines is foolhardy.

      June 15, 2014 at 20:24 | Report abuse |
  7. 1776usa2016

    Not surprising in the land of the perpetual rat race.
    .

    May 23, 2014 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. carolae

    Like any other type of medication in that field....Valium, etc. If you mix that with alcohol, you are in for trouble. I take a 1 mg Xanax 2 hours prior to flying....I remember nothing when I get off the plane. For others, it does nothing for them as they take it on a daily basis. With anything you take....too much can either lead to addiction, overdose and then death or just become hooked on it. The reason it works so well with me is that I only fly 2-3 times a year plus I don't drink. However, you can't tell the young people not to do this....they don't listen and think it is "cool".

    May 23, 2014 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. chrissy

    I agree @ Grin. Klonnopins are just as affective and do not knock you out as valium is prone to do! My dr put me on klonnopin and never opted for the xanax and i am quite greatful that he did it that way. And ive been on them for quite some time...the same dose as initially prescribed. It is just as affective now as it was 3 years ago without increases as is the often required with valium and xanax, so it will be easier to be weaned off them!

    May 23, 2014 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. chrissy

    Oops my agreement was with @el1x not @grin.

    May 23, 2014 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Marsha

    Xanax is the only medication that ever stopped my panic attacks, which I have had for many years. I went from a non functioning house bound agoraphobic to having a life. Most physicians in my area will no longer prescribe it. If you misuse any drug, you can end up in the ER. Xanax is only dangerous if abused, not if it is used as prescribed. It has let me have a normal life. My doctors agrees its the best medication for me.

    May 23, 2014 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lalunaunita

      You are a great example of a responsible user who is involved in your own care. If only more people communicated with their physicians about the amounts they take and the "why" of how much they take (why more, why less, etc.). The fact that you even know your doctor's opinion on the matter is a good sign. My own experience of a family member using Xanax did lead to an ER visit (with a positive outcome, thank goodness), but this was in large part because there was no mental health treatment, just available drugs, a bad home environment, and an irresponsible user. If more (non-drug related) steps had been taken by or with my family member, I'm pretty sure the overdose could have been avoided altogether.

      May 23, 2014 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
  12. citizenUSA

    AH, Xanax. The suburban houswife's heroin. Easy to get without much hoopla and not something people currently abuse like Oxycontin so there's no general concern, (or was).

    May 23, 2014 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. chrissy

    Agree @ Marsha! Everyones chemistry is different and i consider myself very fortunate that my anxiety can be treated with a less addictive drug. That doesnt mean that i dont empathize with those that need different, more addictive drugs. And @ citizen...guess you've forgotten previous conversations weve had so ill remind you now...until you walk a mile in these shoes, dont assume!!! Ya know what they say bout that word right? Lol

    May 23, 2014 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. chrissy

    And i never said anything was less potent than valium! I said valium put me to sleep. Therefore it didnt treat my anxiety if i slept all the time and wasnt able to function! Great for air travel though lol.

    May 23, 2014 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Moose

    @citizen USA Xanax is not a housewife's heroin,what it really does is provide relief from crippling anxiety and panic attacks and unless you have a problem with that it shouldn't be any of your concern. What people need should be between them and a doctor not you the Govt. or any other busy bodies.

    May 23, 2014 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jo Craig

      Moose, Thank you for that last sentence! As a chronic pain patient, I have been abused by more ER staff than I can count when my pain can no longer be managed with the medications my doctor gives me. When that happens, I will suffer for days with nausea, vomiting, pain so intense I can't get out of bed, let alone go to work, and cannot eat or drink anything. The majority of the ER physicians in my local hospital cannot understand that the pain causes the nausea, so you must treat the pain to stop the vomiting, and instead of treating me just lecture myself and my father about the use of narcotic medications. The last time was on the verge of harassment as I spent three hours there and the physician visited me three times – a total of an hour – when I have been to numerous pain specialists who have no idea what to do for me and even get alternative treatments that include Botox, trigger point injections, and acupuncture to get off the narcotics. Not only that, but I have my own pain meds at home that do not work when the pain gets that intense, so I have never asked for anything to take home.
      This war on drugs is hurting people who need the help and doing nothing to stop the issue.

      May 23, 2014 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
  16. chrissy

    Exactly @ Moose, that person feels the same way about bayer aspirin though, and @ Jo i sure DO know how YOU feel!!!! There is no way a person can function properly under those conditions! Thats the root cause of my axiety! So left untreated then more problems arise! God bless you going forward @ Jo ill keep you in my thoughts!

    May 23, 2014 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jo Craig

      Chrissy, Thank You! I am actually having a very strange surgery this coming Wednesday that the neurosurgeon tends to believe might alleviate a good portion of my pain. (Removal of my already fused C1 vertabrae through my nose.) But, as you said, there is no way people can function in conditions where they are not in the least comfortable! And, yes, the longer the symptoms last, the worse they get, which makes it even more difficult to get it under control, whether it be pain or anxiety. The government needs to stop looking at the people who make medications a problem and start considering those who need the medications to survive.

      May 23, 2014 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
  17. Portlandtony

    As the article points out "The most common drug combinations ......encountered in ER patients are Xanax and alcohol, and Xanax combined with prescription opiates like hydrocodone and oxycodone." I think that the emphasis should have been on the overuse of prescription opiates which have by far been proven to be the most addictive and abused drugs available rather than a mild "tranquilizer" like Xanax. Sure you can misuse any drug by "self medicating" but the drug of choice among users has been,for years, oxycodone and related opiates which are nothing more than prescription heroin!

    May 23, 2014 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jo Craig

      I promise you that the government has really cracked down on opiate medications! As someone in constant, severe pain for the past five years, I have been affected by how the laws change regarding the medications I use responsibly every day. Yes, opiates are prescribed heroin, because they are related to heroin (morphine becomes heroin in the blood, yes, shocking someone like me knows this, right?), but there are people who need that level of pain medication to function properly.
      As I said, I have been on these medications every day for several years and am an active, positive member of society with a full-time job I have had for 10 years. The only time I am in the ER is when the pain increases to the point I cannot handle it with the medications I have and have never had an issue with negative interactions (thank goodness) or overdose (because I use the medications properly).

      May 24, 2014 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  18. chrissy

    Wow @ Jo WOW! I would be most interested in learning about this as THAT is the very same problem i have!!!! My doctor said mine couldnt be repaired and that if i had surgery i would undoubtedly end up paralised! Do you also suffer from nueropathy because of that????

    May 23, 2014 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. chrissy

    Wow @ Jo WOW! I would be most interested in learning about this as THAT is the very same problem i have!!!! My doctor said mine couldnt be repaired and that if i had surgery i would undoubt edly end up para lised! Do you also suffer from nuero~pathy because of that???? And sorry i had to split words because it wouldnt post.

    May 23, 2014 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. chrissy

    Lol sorry about the duplicate posts. Dang.

    May 23, 2014 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. chrissy

    And @ Portland tony i know several people that pop those xanax like jelly beans! Handfuls. Its in your genes....addiction i mean. If it werent one it would be something else. But NONE should be takin with alcohol!!!! Which btw i feel is way more harmful than prescriptions. Just my opinion of course...however it is shared by many! And very nice to see you again also! 😉

    May 23, 2014 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portlandtony

      Hi Chrissy, I agree about "self-meditators" using handfuls of Xanax, but the seriously addicted usually are into meth or opiates (Heroin). The effects of XANAX Tablets or benzodiazepines are not strong enough to maintain an addict's needs over time.

      May 23, 2014 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
  22. chrissy

    Oh and @ Jo another thing i recently learned through my research since the new government changes on hydrocodone. If they are generic the FDA allows a variance of plus or minus on the hydrocodone of .2 mgs so if youve noticed they dont work as well as previously that is why. The drug companies arent required to be as accurate on the active ingredient so try to stay away from generic!!!

    May 23, 2014 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
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  24. Barter

    I'm curious as to how many of you other ladies that were referred to as "suburban housewives" never had a problem with anxiety or panic disorder until you approached or entered menopause? I, too, have taken 2 mgs. of xanax a day for years beginning shortly after I was diagnosed with ovarian failure. A great number of women develop problems with anxiety and start to have panic attacks during this stage of life yet most gynecologists, endocrinologist, G.P.'s, etc. REFUSE to acknowledge that anxiety CAN certainly be hormone related. I also use bioidentical HRT which seems to manage the other menopause related symptoms quite well and minimized my anxiety but not nearly enough. Due to my belief that MY problems with anxiety are hormone related, I feel if doctors would acknowledge that the two can be related and work harder to help women fine tune their HRT that a LOT less xanax would be prescribed. And, no OTHER benzo touched my anxiety. I've tried them all and most increased my anxiety. Valium, Klonopin, and other benzos are just as addictive. The greatest difference is that they have a longer half life than xanax so the xanax wears off faster and has to be taken more often depending on the severity of one's symptoms. I've never abused my prescription but there's not really a non-addictive manner in which xanax can be prescribed to a person who suffers from ongoing anxiety. I don't even think the doctor who prescribes it to me understands anxiety nor xanax. He prescribed 2 mg. per day...60 tablets per month to be refilled on the SAME day each month until for 3 months which is when I see him again to renew the prescription. He might schedule my appointment 2 weeks after my refill has ran out. This scares me a little because if I have to reschedule my appointment because I've taken them exactly as prescribed and NEED to take them like that, he ALWAYS asks if I've been taking more than the 2 mgs. a day! Doctors can be SO stupid. The last time he asked me that question, I told him that I was back early because my appointment was over a week past my monthly refill date and I'd rather him renew my prescription in his office rather than the ER because I was experiencing a seizure or a heart attack. I've never had seizure but I make sure I don't run out, either. I HATE having to take them for mostly because of my doc's ignorance about them. I'm afraid HE doesn't realize how addictive they are and the possibly risks of stopping them cold turkey. He certainly doesn't act like it!

    May 24, 2014 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. chrissy

    Omg spot on @ Barter! That is so very true...and im ashamed to say this...but it never occurred to me that it might be related to menopause. And ive experienced that doctor thing also. Not with my primary care physician but when he was out sick and i had to see another doctor in his office. Hes a walking talking campaign for drug free...and decreased my dosage by 75% immediately! There is no scarier feeling in the world then to have a full fledged panic attack AND withdrawals at the same time!!!! Not only that medication but several. Needless to say i was back in the office within a week...and had the privelege of seeing MY doctor reem him good then give him his walking papers!

    May 24, 2014 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Portlandtony

    I like pepperoni pizza.

    May 24, 2014 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. DFWMom

    STOP the Drug War. Repeal the Controlled Substances Act. Aren't you even the least little bit tired of being treated like a criminal for going to the doctor. it's time for voters to take charge.

    May 24, 2014 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. C1Atlas

    @Chrissy and @Jo I hope you see this right away. I had a C1 issue for a year and a half and was in pain and got MRI, surgical consult etc. what worked for me was a simple procedure called Atlas Profilax. Look it up. It didn't hurt a bit and the relief was immediate. I celebrate May 1st every year, since I had it done, and its been 8 years!! (Warning, You will find scary stuff on the net denouncing it, but its a one time massage procedure using an electric massager like a chiropractor might use and it did not hurt despite how terrified I was at the time) hope you can find someone who is trained in this there aren't many of them. Good luck, it's worth a try!

    May 25, 2014 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. chrissy

    Ty @ C1Atlas i will definitely check it out. Ive lived with my problem for almost 28 years. It wasnt until 7 years ago that i found a doctor who wanted to get to the root cause of my chronic pain...which by then, he declared it was too late to be repaired. Prior to that i had a pen happy doctor who wrote prescriptions to appease the pain instead of trying to eliminate it. But i was able to be a productive person so i didnt question his process. And to be honest i was just too busy raising both mine and my sisters children to realise that i probably shouldve pushed the issue.

    May 25, 2014 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. C1Atlas

    @Chrissy, Time to take care of You now! I sympathize about the Rx scene, I had to do that also just to be able to work., and I had 3 pain issues! Surgeon told me he wouldn't touch me because I'd end up worse. I live in a major city. He told me if my arms fall asleep then he might try. I have an inborn problem with spinal canal also. I've been off the heavy pain Rx for two years, although I do still see my dr. and have some for fibro pain which I only take if I really need it. I follow these drug wars, they make me so mad. My husband is a panic disorder guy who absolutely must have his Xanax. I am beginning to see that there is maybe 2 in 10 people that have it bad enough to need the med.. Husband has 2 siblings with the same problem, one wont even ask for the med, she just calls in sick to work and makes her family bring her groceries because shes afraid to drive. It's hard enough to get them to admit their problem and seek help. We don't need this back and forth hysteria with the laws. What is wrong with this country?? I wonder.

    May 26, 2014 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. BKRN

    It's common when these people come in unresponsive and then you give them naloxone or romazicon they come out of it, get mad because they lost their buzz, then storm out of the ER back to there dealer without ever thinking about how close they got to buying a coffin.

    May 26, 2014 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. kc

    kolonapin and xanax are the same thing and are not easy to get off off.who ever told you that it is easier is a liar

    May 26, 2014 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. chrissy

    Thank you @ C1Atlas! And i can relate about being afraid to leave the house. Its frustrating for sure. And @ BKRN i get it however there are some of us out there that genuinely need our meds to be able to function as close to normal as possible! And i dont get why people do what they do for "the buzz" as you said. I wish i didnt have to take meds at all and i sure dont get a "buzz" out of it!

    May 26, 2014 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. chrissy

    But then again, i dont understand heroin addicts either. Why would you crave something that makes you puke? And people deliberately sticking needles in theirselves? Damn. I nearly pass out at the sight of a hypidermic needle headed in my direction when its time for bloodwork! So to "purposely" do so boggles my mind. Then again im not a fan of alcoholics either. I thoroughly enjoy having all my faculties too much for that nonsense.

    May 26, 2014 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. blazingmachinegun

    Let em go..Thin the herd...Tired of lookin at junkie dead weight.

    June 1, 2014 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. nepawoods

    "implicated in a spiraling number of emergency room visits"

    Just what is a "spiraling number"?

    June 14, 2014 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Goldensong57

    Most people who are on benzodiazapenes do not abuse them. They were given by their physicians for anxiety, saying how safe they are. Well guess again.. they are not safe. But you are not told that when they are prescribed to you. You eventually become tolerant to them..meaning they quit working no matter if the dose it upped or not and you are in withdrawal even on the drug. It may take weeks, months or years, but it will happen eventually. The doctors are uneducated in these matters on how to safely wean their patients off the medication and throw people into cold turkey situations in which they can die or not recover from the use of the drug that was supposed to be safe and help them, not knowing that it is a lie. You idiots who call these people junkies are ignorant. They are not junkies.. They want off the drugs and don't go seek out more and can't get help getting off of them because it could be fatal. Yes, FATAL.. But your doctor doesn't tell you that. So educate yourselves... Very few people who were prescibed this drug are junkies, they are dependent on the drug and had no idea what harm these drugs could do to them when giving to them by their trusted physician. But when you finally figure out that the medication is making you ill and want to get off of it humanly, they are oblivious on how to help you or could care less if you suffer for the rest of your life if you are lucky enough to get off them and live through it. For the peole that use them recreationally and buy them on the street and drinking with them, all I can say is, You are playing with fire.. It is a very addictive psychiatric medication.... So for the people who's comments include the word junkies or dead weight, instead of judging people on xanax and other psychiatric medications, why don't you try reading about how the majority of these people were only following doctor's orders and were tossed to the curb when their doctor got scared and totally abandoned their patients because they really didn't do their homework before prescribing cut them off putting them at the risk of death. I'd say most ER visits from xanax and other meds like xanax is because they are desperately trying to get off of them with no help from their doctors. They are trying to go through this hellish process on their own and end up in the ER if the symptoms get so bad, that they have no choice and go to make sure they are not going to die from seizures, having a stroke or a heart attack... A large majority try to commit suicide because the withdrawal is so bad, death would be a blessing to them....You can't even imagine.... So don't judge until you've walked in their shoes. Some of these rude comments are from people who are not very educated on psychiatric drugs who were prescribed by DOCTORS.. Again, people who have been prescribed these meds are not Junkies. And for those who think they are a god send, when you go into tolerance withdrawals eventually, let me know how that works out for you. I didn't know either that this could happen until it happened to me 14 years later.......... Now I'm at the mercy of trying to get off them by myself and the help from a group of people going through the same thing.

    June 15, 2014 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. maritza

    OMG! Wake up and stop drinking the koolaid...
    These very dangerous drugs can cause DEPENDENCE (where they replace normal brain mechanisms to calm itself–GABA receptor downregulation) even when used on low doses, short-term and EXACTLY as prescribed...of course, pHARMA wants you to believe that you'll only get in trouble if you abuse these drugs...NOT TRUE AT ALL! Stop thinking you are above this and learn the facts at benzo.org.uk

    June 16, 2014 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Goldensong57

      I totally agree Maritza!

      June 16, 2014 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
  39. Pam

    Like anything..everyone h as to be responsible for their behaviors. its not the DRUG , its the lack of responsibility taking it. Xanax is a good drug for what it is intended for. I dont like bad press about ER visits.. people who do that would probably OD on anything anyway.. It calms anxiety and helps you cope.. Its not meant to be taken every day .. you have to have other means of emotional support...

    July 1, 2014 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.