Dangers Of Snorting Xanax: Why Are People Snorting Xanax?

Intranasal Xanax abuse is associated with several harmful side effects and poses serious risks to your nose, throat, and lungs.

Dangers Of Snorting Xanax: Why Are People Snorting Xanax?

Xanax is a common brand name for the prescription drug alprazolam, which is a benzodiazepine used to treat panic disorders and other anxiety disorders.

Like other benzodiazepines (benzos), which are only legally available with a prescription, Xanax works by enhancing the activity of a specific neurochemical in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

This interaction slows down central nervous system activity across the body, calming hyperactivity, stress, and anxiety. Due to these effects, Xanax is sometimes crushed, snorted, and abused.

Snorting Xanax

Even compared to other benzo drugs, Xanax is fast-acting, powerful, and is considered to have a very high abuse potential.

This is because many individuals choose to use the drug to self-medicate, while others increase their dosage to trigger a potent and pleasurable euphoric high.

While the drug can be swallowed to get high, it takes time for the digestive system to absorb it, delaying and diluting the pleasurable effects of Xanax.

By crushing and snorting Xanax tablets, some have bypassed the extended-release design of the medication to trigger a much more rapid and intense euphoria as the drug is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the delicate tissues and mucous membranes of the sinuses.

However, this method of ingestion is extremely risky, and can lead to serious and lasting health problems.

Effects Of Snorting Alprazolam

When used as intended, Xanax provides relief for around five hours, or eleven hours for Xanax extended-release tablets.

If you crush and snort these tablets instead, you will likely experience all the same effects as if you were to take it orally. However, these effects will begin in as little as two minutes, rather than 30-60 minutes for oral ingestion, and they will likely be more intense.

Effects and side-effects of snorting Xanax may include:

  • euphoria
  • unusual talkativeness
  • trouble concentrating
  • slurred speech
  • impaired movement and motor control
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • constipation
  • problems urinating
  • reduced sex drive and sexual dysfunction
  • skin rash
  • mental confusion
  • depression
  • amnesia, meaning short-term memory loss or blackouts

Dangers Of Snorting Xanax

Intranasal Xanax abuse is associated with several harmful side effects and poses serious risks to your nose, throat, and lungs. It may also trigger harmful or deadly overdose effects, especially if you use Xanax with other drugs.

Nose, Throat, & Lung Injuries

Abusing any drug intranasally can cause severe harm to your nasal passages, damaging these specialized tissues and bringing in harmful, infectious bacteria.

Long term effects of snorting drugs include:

  • nasal cavity irritation
  • frequent runny nose
  • sinus infections
  • frequent nosebleeds
  • reduced ability to smell and taste
  • throat irritation
  • trouble swallowing
  • lung infections
  • vocal changes

In especially severe cases, necrosis (tissue death) can occur, leading to large perforations (holes) forming in the nasal septum (the tissue that separates your nostrils) as well as the palate (the roof of your mouth).


While deadly overdoses from Xanax abuse on its own is rare, overdose becomes much more likely and harmful whenever Xanax is taken with other drugs, especially other CNS depressants like alcohol or opioid narcotics, including both prescription painkillers (hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc.) and illicit opioids (heroin, fentanyl).

Xanax-related overdose deaths likely occur due to respiratory depression, as the effect of the drug or drugs interferes with a person’s breathing, depriving them of oxygen.

Signs of a life-threatening Xanax overdose can include:

  • severe drowsiness
  • confusion
  • impaired coordination
  • slow, shallow, or stopped breathing
  • blue-tinted fingertips or lips
  • loss of consciousness (coma)

Other Risks

Other risks of snorting Xanax include:

  • an elevated risk of developing physical dependence and addiction
  • hallucinations, as you may see, hear, or feel things that are not real
  • suicidal thoughts or impulses
  • reduced inhibition, perception, and motor control, which can contribute to risky sexual activity and STI transmission as well as accidents and motor vehicle crashes

Xanax Addiction Treatment

Snorting drugs increases the risk of developing benzodiazepine addiction, a form of substance use disorder (SUD).

Common signs of Xanax addiction include:

  • Xanax cravings
  • drug-seeking behavior
  • taking increasingly higher doses of Xanax in order to feel the same effect
  • experiencing Xanax withdrawal symptoms (sweating, irritability, or even seizures) when you try to stop taking Xanax
  • being unable to stop using or misusing Xanax, even if you are aware of the harm it causes

Xanax addiction is treatable through professional substance abuse treatment programs, which may begin with a medical detox program designed to safely taper down your dosage to get you off Xanax without overly disrupting your physical or mental health.

Following detoxification, you can participate in either an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program, which may feature treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, peer support groups, counseling, and other treatment services.

If you or your loved one struggle with Xanax addiction, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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