The Xanax epidemic

Illustration by Trevor Moore Photo credit: Trevor Moore

Within my time in college, I have noticed a dangerous, addictive habit— prevalent on all campuses— that is turning students into incoherent zombies.

Xanax, the drug responsible for countless blackouts, multiple regrets and even student death can be bought from your friendly neighborhood drug dealer. Averaging around $5 a pill, this drug can turn your night out into a night not remembered— very fast.

Part of the benzodiazepines family, Xanax, more commonly known on the streets as bars, is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders. Some users actually take the medication for its intended purpose, but in college towns, this is drug is heavily abused by students to achieve a quick and easy high. It’s most commonly mixed with alcohol, which can be a recipe for disaster, as Xanax causes blackouts extremely fast when washed down with a shot of Burnett’s.

Depending on how much you mix, this combination has a great chance of lowering your heart rate to a dangerous level and can also cause your involuntary breathing functions to be impaired. Knowing that it has the potential to kill you, I do not understand why so many people fiend over this crap.

I cannot stand it when people around me are “barred out.”

Seeing people stumble around like a bunch of zombified gorillas is very frustrating. Is it even fun to be that drugged up?

I understand drinking a few beers and smoking a little bit of the devil’s lettuce, but taking a prescription drug just so you can get incapacitated to the point where your eyes roll back in your head and you can’t remember a thing from last night— how is that even fun?

What students don’t know is that half the time the drug they are taking never came from a pharmacy.

Since the demand for these bars is so high, drug dealers often times press their own mixture of the active ingredient alprazolam with fillers to create higher profits margins.

A pressed pill will generally contain a significant amount less of alprazolam than the prescribed pills, which will cause students to buy more to get the desired effect and also make the drug dealers rich.

Getting thousands of pills from a dirty pharmacist or doctor can raise red flags and will likely land both the dealer and doctor in prison.

This is why pressing the pills themselves is a safer and more cost efficient way of getting the pills on the street. If you aren’t taking a Xanax bar from your sorority sister’s little orange bottle, chances are you are ingesting a pressed pill cut with God knows what.

Next time you feel inclined to take Xanax, think about the consequences that you might have to deal with in the morning.

Consider how you might not even be taking an FDA-approved pharmaceutical drug.

Lastly, don’t give in to the temptation and become another one of the zombies prowling the night.

Nick Bragg can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.