Health and Wellbeing

Important information about Xanax

Six young people have recently needed hospital treatment in Brighton and Hove following recreational use of the drug Xanax, which belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs.

What is Xanax?

Xanax was introduced as a treatment for anxiety and panic disorders, and can be obtained on private prescription in the UK, however there has been increasing use of the drug on a recreational basis; this has led to concern about the safety of people who choose to use Xanax without a prescription.

What are the effects of using Xanax?

The effects of Xanax are similar to diazepam (Valium), however it is about 20 times as strong and acts more quickly.

Common effects of taking Xanax include sleepiness, dizziness and muscle relaxation.

Signs of overdose can include confusion, impaired coordination, slow reactions and coma. People can overdose from using Xanax on its own, and using Xanax with other substances including alcohol greatly increases the risk of overdose – this can lead to death.

Ongoing use causes physical and psychological dependence, and people should be aware that tolerance and dependency can develop quickly. It can be very dangerous for someone who is dependent on Xanax to suddenly stop taking it, so regular users should reduce their use gradually, and with professional supervision.

There is concern that some drugs being sold as Xanax, over the internet or by local dealers, may not actually be what they are described as, meaning that people don’t know what they are buying. Even so, using pure Xanax without a prescription can still be very dangerous.

What to do if some becomes unwell from using Xanax

People who fall asleep following Xanax use should be placed in the recovery position.

If you or someone you know has any serious adverse reactions to Xanax, or might be experiencing overdose, then it’s really important to seek medical help as soon as possible.

If someone becomes unconscious after using Xanax they should be placed in the recovery position to prevent choking and an ambulance should be called. Off campus the number to call is 999. If an incident happens on campus then the security team should be called on 01273 873333 so that they can guide the ambulance onto campus – you will not get into trouble for calling for help.

Want more information, or support with drug use?

You can find out more about Xanax, including harm reduction information, on the FRANK website and the Drugs Wheel

If you would like to access free, confidential information, advice or support with issues to do with drug or alcohol use you can contact Pavilions, who provide adult drug and alcohol services for Brighton and Hove.

You can find more information about alcohol and drugs on our Student Wellbeing web pages.