Dangers of Snorting, Smoking, or Injecting Xanax

Xanax is the brand name of the drug alprazolam, a benzodiazepine medication often prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders, and agoraphobia.

As a central nervous system depressant, Xanax slows down the nervous system, producing a calm, relaxed feeling. Although it is a prescription drug, there is the potential for abuse; however, this is often overlooked.

In this blog, we look at the dangers of snorting, smoking, and injecting Xanax.

What Is Xanax?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists Xanax as one of the top prescription drugs being taken from the legal drug market and sold on the streets in the illicit drug trade. There are a variety of ways that people abuse the drug, with adults and adolescents alike crushing the pill form before injecting, smoking, or snorting Xanax to produce a high.

Xanax, like all benzodiazepine drugs, increases the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that lowers nerve impulses throughout the body, providing effects like sedation and relaxation.

In addition to the above, side effects of Xanax include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Increased saliva production
  • Change in sex drive

Xanax can cause mood changes in severe but rare cases and induce visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations. Sadly, abusing Xanax increases the risk of these side effects.

Abusing Xanax can also result in drug dependence and, if taken for an extended period, it becomes highly addictive, so it is often only prescribed as a short-term treatment. Those who consume Xanax quickly build a tolerance to the effects of the drug, which is one reason it is misused.

Xanax Abuse and Xanax Addiction

Benzodiazepine drugs or benzos as they are commonly known are steadily increasing in popularity, as is the number of people seeking treatment for benzodiazepine abuse. Xanax is the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States, meaning it is incredibly easy for most people to access it. In fact, it is thought that 70% of teenagers with a Xanax addiction acquire the drug from the medicine cabinet in their house.

Statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) show that the number of Americans over the age of 12 seeking help for substance abuse has been steadily increasing as prescription drug abuse is generally increasing across the country.

While prescription medications like Xanax play an important role in legitimate medical treatment, many health professionals warn that the next drug epidemic may not focus on opioids such as heroin but instead on prescription medications like benzodiazepines.

Xanax or alprazolam abuse arises when the drug is taken more often, for too long, or at a higher dose than prescribed. Consuming Xanax in any way other than swallowing the pill as instructed by a healthcare professional also constitutes Xanax abuse.

As touched on above, people may abuse Xanax by snorting, smoking, or injecting it, all of which are extremely dangerous and increase the risk of addiction.

Snorting Xanax

Many believe that crushing Xanax pills and snorting them results in a faster, more intense high. There has only been limited scientific research into whether snorting Xanax actually does create stronger or faster effects, and none of the results have been conclusive.

However, snorting Xanax can cause damage to the nasal cavity and sinus tissue over time, resulting in a chronic runny or bloody nose as well as sinus infections.

Smoking Xanax

Smoking Xanax is more common when it is mixed with other drugs. For example, Xanax powder is sometimes added to pipes or bowls of weed for an additional feeling of relaxation. However, it is unlikely that the effect of Xanax is more intense when it is smoked.

Heating Xanax can change the way that it works in potentially dangerous ways that have not yet been studied. The dangers of smoking Xanax include:

  • Mouth burns
  • Respiratory issues
  • Certain cancers
  • Damage to the lungs

Injecting Xanax

Shooting Xanax comes with the highest risk of overdose. Generally, people inject a drug to reduce the time it takes the digestive system to process it.

Shooting Xanax with a needle places the drug directly into the bloodstream, where it reaches the brain much faster. Xanax medicine is designed to be metabolized by the liver first, so injecting Xanax puts a significantly higher concentration of the drug directly into the bloodstream, leading to overdose or respiratory issues.

Xanax Overdose

There is an increased risk of a medical emergency if Xanax is combined with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines.

Another risk of Xanax overdose comes when fake Xanax is acquired on the street instead of via a medical prescription. These pills may combine Xanax with other dangerous substances such as fentanyl, which can cause an overdose.

Xanax Addiction

Certain risk factors are associated with Xanax addiction. People who have been using or misusing Xanax for a long time and happen to have one of the following conditions are thought to be at higher risk of developing an addiction to Xanax:

  • History of substance use problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

When a person becomes dependent on Xanax to function physically and mentally, stopping taking the drug abruptly or going cold turkey could cause severe side effects.

If you think that you or someone you know has an addiction or dependence on Xanax, seek help from a medical professional before attempting to begin the withdrawal process or reduce Xanax consumption.

Xanax Withdrawal

Detoxing from benzos such as Xanax without medical supervision and support can increase the risk of potentially lethal complications such as seizures. Supervised medical detoxification is necessary if you or someone you know is ready to stop abusing Xanax.

When medical detox takes place, it is common to experience Xanax withdrawal symptoms. These can arise regardless of whether a person is smoking Xanax or snorts Xanax.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle pain
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Numbness
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

When professional treatment is sought, you or a loved one will gradually taper off of Xanax with the support of a medical professional. Temporary medications, such as a longer-acting benzodiazepine that provides the same effects as Xanax, may be prescribed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. This process can take up to six weeks.

Usually, those who have developed a physical dependence on Xanax experience the most severe withdrawal symptoms, which can begin just hours after the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms generally peak in severity within one to four days.

Xanax Addiction Treatment

After detox is complete, the treatment process can begin. The type of long-term treatment you or a loved one receives depends on the nature of why you or they started using the drug.

Treatment for Xanax abuse should address the underlying reasons that the drug abuse or addiction began. During treatment, treatment centers, such as our, provide the opportunity to address underlying conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

If any co-occurring disorders, such as generalized anxiety, depression, or panic disorder, contribute to Xanax abuse, treatment will often include therapy and complementary techniques, like meditation and mindfulness.

However, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common therapy used in Xanax addiction recovery. CBT involves working with a therapist to develop healthy coping strategies.

Contact Us Today

At NP Addiction Clinic, we provide psychotherapeutic treatment programs with the compassion and respect each client deserves. Our individualized programs draw on various evidence-based treatment options to build a personalized recovery plan to suit each person’s needs.

Our specialized facilities offer a comfortable environment where you can focus on your recovery. If you require support detoxing from Xanax or seeking addiction treatment, call us today. If you are worried about a loved one, contact us for help and guidance.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine