School Children Dealing Xanax As Child Addiction Figures Soar
New figures released by Public Health England reveal the number of children being treated for benzodiazepine addiction has more than doubled in the last year. This has led the media to label the child addicts as “Generation Xanax” as child addiction figures soar along with anxiety levels.
Some schools and charities are claiming that fake Xanax is now being dealt in school yards like sweets.
The BBC reported earlier this year that head teachers said kids don’t really know the risk Xanax poses to them.
One deputy head teacher, Nick Lind, of Redland Green School in Bristol, said: “Students are finding out that that’s the drug that’s available. They’ve seen other people using it. Sometimes it’s mentioned, because it is an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety drug.”
“Because it’s seen as a prescription drug and therefore not seen necessarily by some people as dangerous. They think it is prescription, they don’t understand the risks. They think it’s a safe way of getting into drugs.”
Xanax (and counterfeits) has seen the sharpest rise in child benzodiazepine addiction figures. Fifty three children required treatment in England in 2017. This is compared to the 8 children that sought treatment in 2016. Certainly, a large and tragic rise which cannot be ignored.
Public Health England statistics show that there were 315 cases of children being treated for addiction to anti-anxiety drugs last year. Alarmingly, this is double the number of cases recorded for 2016.
The full report for young people’s statistics recorded by The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) can be accessed here.
What is Xanax?
Xanax belongs to a group of controlled prescription drugs called benzodiazepines. Xanax is a common trade name for the medication Alprazolam. It has calming and sedative effects, providing the user with a false sense of well-being.
Alprazolam is most commonly prescribed for the short term management of anxiety and panic related disorders.
Xanax has a short therapeutic treatment life. It does not cure anxiety and merely treats the symptoms. Addiction to Xanax and other benzodiazepines can occur within as little as 7 to 14 days of daily use; after which tolerance will likely occur and the same initial benefits will not be felt unless the dosage is increased. Taking any less than the tolerated amount will result in benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
What Is Xanax? Here’s a good video explaining what it is and it’s side effects:
How Xanax Should Be Used
Xanax can be used effectively and safely on a short term basis only. In the case of generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD or panic attack disorder, it should be used in conjunction with a cognitive based therapy to tackle the underlying causes. A GP or Psychiatrist will need to monitor the patient very closely. This ensures that there are no signs of drug abuse and that the medication is having the desired therapeutic effect.
If this drug is prescribed or taken without applying cognitive based counselling or psychotherapy, the individual will not gain the full benefits of the drug. Likewise, there is a need to learn healthy coping strategies. These can help self-management of an anxiety related condition in the long term. If they do not, it is likely the person will seek unhealthy means of suppressing and self medicating their condition.
Fake Xanax – The Risks
Xanax has attracted a lot of press and media attention over the past year and rightly so. Fake Xanax can now be purchased from street dealers and from the dark web with relative ease, even by children.
Real and fake Xanax – Know the difference!
The main risk associated with purchasing fake Xanax is that you don’t know what’s in the pill. Its manufacture is unlicensed and unregulated and therefore could potentially contain other highly addictive and dangerous substances.
In addition, purchasing fake Xanax is illegal. You will be self-diagnosing and self-medicating with a highly addictive drug. This is never going to have a positive outcome and is likely to result in Xanax dependence and addiction.
However, the effects of Xanax have been quickly realised. It is a cheap and easy way to get high and appears relatively harmless in comparison to Class A drugs. However, those that abuse Xanax often take large numbers of pills. They may also combine it with alcohol or other sedative drugs for increased effects. This is extremely dangerous.
Mixing alcohol or any other drugs with Xanax (real or fake) carries sizeable risks. It can lead to drug poisoning, respiratory depression, overdose, coma and ultimately death.
The Dangers of Xanax For Children
Latest NHS figures suggest that as many as 1 in 8 children now suffer from a mental health disorder, anxiety being cited as very common. The main danger of prescribing benzodiazepines to children is that their brains are not fully developed and are extremely vulnerable to change through chemicals. This can lead to uncharacteristic behaviour, increased risk taking, unhealthy coping mechanisms and addiction.
Children exposed to addictive mind and mood altering drugs are particularly susceptible to developing an addiction.
Benzodiazepines, when used or abused over a long period of time, can have very harmful effects on the brain and can lead to long term mental health conditions such as increased anxiety and clinical depression.
The fact that more children are being treated for a problem with benzodiazepines is a major cause for concern. It indicates that therapeutic treatments are not being favoured and that this class of medications is easy to obtain illicitly.
Xanax Addiction Treatment
One of the biggest problems with children becoming addicted to Xanax is that there are very few effective treatment options available for under 18’s. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is particularly unpleasant and often very dangerous. Stopping Xanax should only be attempted under close medical observation by a qualified medical practitioner.
Finding fake Xanax in your child’s possession can naturally be very scary. Therefore it is important that you urgently seek help. For example, from your GP as they can advise how the the problem needs to be treated. However, they are not specialists in addiction treatment and you may need other help.
In summary, if you or a loved one are 18 or over and have an addiction to Xanax or another benzodiazepine, private rehab treatment is often the best option.
Step by Step Recovery offer affordable detox and rehab for all manner of prescription drugs, illicit drugs, legal highs and alcohol. So please call us today for more information on our residential prescription drug detox programmes or complete and return our online assessment form.
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