A Xanax bar is a street name for alprazolam, a prescription medication that’s used to relieve anxiety.
Like other benzodiazepines, Xanax calms a person by slowing the central nervous system. Because the drug works quickly and effectively, it can be a godsend for individuals suffering from panic attacks and other debilitating types of anxiety.
But the drug’s relaxing effects have also made it a popular recreational drug, contributing to high rates of Xanax addiction and abuse.
Xanax, which is a name brand of alprazolam manufactured by Pfizer, comes in several different strengths. Xanax bars usually refer to 2-milligram-strength tablets of the drug.
Name brand Xanax bars are white and rectangular tablets imprinted with “XANAX” on one side and the number “2” on the other side. They are scored, or indented, in three places, so one pill can be broken into four 0.25-mg pieces.
There are also a number of similar looking generic versions of the drug. Par Pharmaceuticals distributes pale green Xanax bars. The 2-mg rectangular pills — which are imprinted with “S 90 3” — have two scores, instead of three, so they can be broken into three equal 0.66mg squares.
Actavis Pharma markets a yellow version of the drug. The 2-mg tablets are sometimes referred to as “yellow school buses” on the street. Other common slang terms for Xanax bars include: “sticks,” “planks,” “bricks,” “bars,” “zbars,” “handlebars,” “totem poles” and “zanies.”
Color, along with the shape of a tablet, can provide some clues about the strength of alprazolam tablets — but it’s not a perfect indicator. That’s because different manufacturers use different colors for their formulations.
The lowest dose of alprazolam, 0.25 mg, usually comes as an oblong, white pill that is scored down the middle — and most manufacturers pills look relatively the same, according to a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s pill identification database.
But while most 0.5-mg alprazolam tablets, for instance, are football-shaped and pink or peach in color, some manufacturers sell 0.5-mg tablets that are yellow. And although 1-mg tablets are usually blue, some are green. As mentioned above, 2-mg Xanax bars are usually white, yellow or light green.
The highest strength dose of Xanax is a 3-mg extended-release tablet. That pill is triangular — not bar-shaped — and green.
Because of the wide variety of strengths and manufacturers, you should never take alprazolam unless it’s been specifically prescribed to you and came from its original prescription pill bottle.
Most people take alprazolam for its relaxing and euphoric effects, otherwise known as a Xanax high. But reactions Xanax can differ from person to person, depending on the dose taken and whether they have taken it before.
The 2-mg dose of alprazolam in a Xanax bar is a heavy dose of the drug. A person who uses alprazolam regularly and has built up a tolerance to it, might feel euphoric or extremely mellow, but someone who is not used to the drug may become heavily sedated.
Other common Xanax side effects include:
Signs and symptoms of a Xanax overdose include:
Counterfeit Xanax tainted with fentanyl and carfentanil is also cropping up the street. One dose of the fake drug could kill a person.
Using Xanax regularly can also lead to physical dependence and addiction. Xanax withdrawal can be uncomfortable and often requires a medical detox.
Abuse of Xanax is so widespread that references to the drug have invaded popular culture and the rap music scene in particular.
In 2013, rapper Ricky Hil, Tommy Hilfiger’s son, came out with a song about Xanax addiction called “Xanax Bars.” And when South Florida rapper Lil Pump reached one million followers on Instagram in 2017, he celebrated by slicing a “Xan cake” make to look like a green Xanax bar.
California rap artist Diego Leanos, who goes by the stage name Lil Xan, had a breakout hit with his 2017 song “Betrayed,” about his two-year addiction to Xanax. The artist’s music video has garnered more than 211 million hits on YouTube.
Lil Xan says he decided to give up Xanax following the 2017 death of his friend and fellow rap artist Lil Peep, who died after overdosing on a combination of Xanax and fentanyl.
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