Sold under the generic name alprazolam, Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that is frequently that is frequently misused and abused. The street value of Xanax varies from state to state, due to several variables described below. On the street, you may hear this medication referred to as bars, footballs, xannies, ladders, or totem poles.

Xanax belongs to the drug class of benzodiazepines, which are typically used in the treatment of anxiety disorders or as an anti-seizure medication.

People use Xanax as a recreational drug to lower their inhibitions, feel a sense of pleasure, or enhance the potency of other drugs. This drug can make people feel relaxed, at ease, and willing to act in ways they typically wouldn’t while sober.

This medicine is a Schedule IV controlled substance — meaning the DEA considers it as having a low potential for abuse and has an accepted medical use in the United States. Yet despite this classification, millions of people abuse Xanax or other prescription benzodiazepines each year.

While Xanax is abused in an attempt to socialize, feel good, and relax, it also comes with a host of negative side effects. Xanax is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows the body’s automatic, life-preserving functions. Common side effects include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Memory loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Headaches

Taking large quantities of Xanax can quickly lead to an overdose, especially when this drug is combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, opiates, or barbiturates.

Medical Use of Xanax

Xanax is primarily prescribed as an anxiolytic, meaning it is intended to reduce the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety. As a quick-acting benzodiazepine, it is commonly prescribed to treat panic disorders or social anxiety, as it can quickly produce the desired relaxing effect.

Xanax may also be prescribed to treat other anxiety-related conditions, such as agoraphobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prescriptions for Xanax and alprazolam come in many forms, but it is most commonly prescribed as one of two common shapes and dosages:

Xanax Bars

Xanax bars are one of the most common forms of Xanax, particularly on the street. They have a strength of 2mg, the highest dose of this medication available. Yet they are not necessarily intended to be taken whole.

Xanax bars are long and rectangular and divided into four squares. Each square contains a 0.5mg dose of Xanax, and the bar is scored to make it easy to break apart into several doses.

Many of the street names for Xanax come from this distinctive shape. Xanny bars, totem poles, and ladders all refer to the 2mg dosage of this particular formulation of Xanax.

Xanax Pills

In addition to bars, this medication is also sold in a more conventional pill shape. The street name “footballs” refers to an oblong form of Xanax or alprazolam that comes in a 0.5mg strength and closely resembles the shape of a football.

Several other dosage strengths of Xanax pills exist. These pills vary in dose at 0.25mg, 0.5mg, and 1mg.

Xanax Risks

Despite being a prescription medication, Xanax has several risks associated with it. Even if you have a prescription for Xanax, you must be acutely aware of the way Xanax can affect you and interact with other medications in order to use it safely.

The first danger of using or misusing Xanax is the risk of developing a Xanax addiction. Addiction can make it hard to stop using Xanax on your own, can reduce your interest in activities or hobbies outside of drug use, and can cause severe withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using it.

In fact, the withdrawal symptoms from chronic Xanax use are so intense that it can often lead to life-threatening seizures, and people who have used Xanax for an extended period require the help of medical detoxification to stop using Xanax safely.

The second danger of Xanax is dangerous drug interactions. Xanax potentiates the effects of other central nervous system depressants, such as opioids, alcohol, or barbiturates.

Drinking alcohol while taking Xanax can make you feel much more intoxicated and often leads to blackouts or accidental overdose. Using Xanax and opioids together similarly exacerbates the effects, and benzodiazepines are frequently associated with accidental opioid overdose.

Third, taking too much Xanax on its own can quickly lead to an overdose. Xanax slows your breathing, heart rate, and central nervous system activity and may cause you to lose consciousness and stop breathing.

And lastly, buying Xanax on the street brings its own dangers. Pressed pills, meaning illicit drugs disguised to look like prescription medications, are commonly found on the street. While these pills may look like prescription Xanax, they often contain other benzodiazepines and dangerous drugs such as fentanyl or carfentanil, which are powerful opioids that can quickly lead to overdose.

Signs of Xanax Overdose

When a person overdoses on Xanax, they may experience severe effects that indicate they require medical attention. The signs of Xanax overdose include:

  • Pronounced drowsiness, or “nodding off”
  • Confusion
  • Poor reflexes
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Death
If somebody you know is showing the signs of Xanax overdose, call 911 immediately. Emergency medical services may be able to save their life.

Street Price of Xanax

The street value of Xanax varies widely from state to state. StreetRx uses the RADARS surveillance system to monitor the street price of Xanax and other drugs and can provide a clear indication of common Xanax prices.

According to the data collected by StreetRx, Xanax prices in the United States are between $5 and $12 for a 2mg pill. Pills with a lower dosage hover closer to the $4 to $5 range.

Resources for Getting Help

Xanax addiction is a significant problem. People struggling with a benzodiazepine use disorder may need professional help to stop, especially during the withdrawal phase. Withdrawing from frequent benzodiazepine use can have deadly effects, and medical detoxification can help make this process safe and much easier.

If you think you need help, you can find addiction treatment centers near you through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s treatment finder website.

FDA: Xanax Information

NIH: A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal