Report Shows ER Visits Linked to Xanax Abuse have Increased

Updated: 05/22/2014 10:37 PM
Created: 05/22/2014 8:39 PM
By: Cassie Hart

A new report shows many Americans are misusing a drug that treats anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia and anxiety caused by depression.

Alprazolam, known by its brand name Xanax, helps calm people down, but the report found that many people are combining the drug with alcohol.

The report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) looked at the number of ER visits, and it found that misuse of the drug has more than doubled in six years.   

The number of ER visits linked to alprazolam rose from 57,000 in 2005 to 124,000 in 2011, the SAMHSA report concluded. “This report highlights the need to educate people about the dangers of misusing or sharing prescription medications and the importance of properly disposing of unused medication,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in a news release.

In 81 percent of trips to the ER involving Xanax, the drug was mixed with another drug like alcohol, according to the report.

People should know that when you combine sedatives, the effect is amplified and there could be deadly consequences. To use a mathematical analogy instead of 1+1= 2; one sedative plus another essentially equals five.

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