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The Dangers Of Snorting Xanax (Alprazolam)

Xanax is the brand name for a benzodiazepine medication called alprazolam. Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. While Xanax is effective in relieving anxiety and helping people sleep, this substance is highly addictive and habit-forming if it is abused for extended periods of time. 

Like other benzodiazepines, Xanax slows down activity in your central nervous system leading to a calming and sedative effect on the body.[1] Many people who abuse Xanax begin snorting the drug because they believe it will produce more potent effects. The mucous membranes in the nose are thin, allowing most drugs to reach the bloodstream faster and produce more intense effects.

However, snorting Xanax can be extremely dangerous. Xanax insufflation (snorting) can increase your risk of addiction and overdose as well as cause significant damage to your nasal cavities.

The Effects of Snorting Xanax

When you snort alprazolam you should begin feeling the effects 25 to 30 minutes later. These effects can last up to a few hours depending on your tolerance and the dosage you took. 

Common side effects of snorting Xanax include:[3]

Despite the common misconception that snorting Xanax will produce a rapid onset high, studies have shown that this method of administration causes insignificant effects when compared to swallowing the pill. Xanax is fat-soluble and does not dissolve well in water, causing the nasal membrane to be unable to absorb it as well as other drugs.[2] 

Snorting Xanax is not worth the risks and dangers you could experience, and doing so is unlikely to increase the psychoactive effects.. 

The Dangers of Snorting Xanax

Snorting Xanax can be substantially more dangerous than swallowing the drug because it can cause damage to your nose, increase your likelihood of addiction, and put you at risk of overdosing. If you or a loved one suffer from Xanax addiction, you should consider attending a drug rehab center that can provide you with the support and tools you need to recover.

The main dangers of snorting Xanax include:

Damage to the Nose

Alprazolam is the main substance in Xanax that is used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. However, there are other substances inside a Xanax pill, such as corn starch and other fillers, that can cause significant damage to the nose if it is inhaled.

Over time, snorting Xanax can lead to nasal cavity infection, lung infection, or respiratory blockage. Other ways alprazolam insufflation can harm your nose include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of smell 
  • Thinning of nasal tissue 
  • Holes in your nasal cavity 
  • Whistling noise coming from your nose
  • Irritation of the throat
  • Damage to your lungs 


People who snort Xanax often abuse more than one pill at a time so they are taking large doses of alprazolam at once. Additionally, individuals may routinely snort Xanax, never taking a break from the high. 

When someone is snorting Xanax frequently and in large amounts, their likelihood of becoming addicted to the drug is extremely high. If you are worried that your loved one is addicted to Xanax, being aware of the signs can help you determine your next steps. 

The signs of Xanax addiction include:

  • Frequent feelings of drowsiness or confusion
  • Cognitive issues
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech and poor coordination 
  • Running out of your Xanax prescription early 
  • Attempting to obtain more than one prescription at a time
  • Stealing Xanax from friends or buying it on the street
  • Lying about Xanax abuse 
  • Changes in behavior, mood, eating, and sleeping 
  • Attempting but failing to quit using Xanax
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you do not use Xanax
  • Needing more of the drug to experience your desired effect


When you snort alprazolam, your tolerance grows rapidly which may cause you to abuse large amounts of the substance at once. As a result, you could experience a life-threatening overdose.

If you abuse Xanax that you buy off of the street, you could be purchasing pressed pills that are counterfeit. Pressed pills are created by drug dealers and often contain substances you are not aware of. It is extremely common for pressed Xanax pills to include fatal amounts of fentanyl which can increase your risk of overdose substantially.

Signs of a drug overdose include:[3]

  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blu-ish colored lips and fingernails
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Chest pain
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

If you suspect someone you know is experiencing an overdose, please contact emergency medical services immediately. If they consumed a fake Xanax pill that contains fentanyl, the first responders can administer naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication. Medications like flumazenil may be administered to reverse the effects of a benzodiazepine overdose after snorting Xanax.

Finding Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one frequently abuse Xanax, you could be suffering from an addiction. Benzodiazepine addiction can be hazardous, especially if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Without medical treatment, benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in severe symptoms like seizures and even death. 

At Mandala Center Center, our holistic drug and alcohol detox center provides clients with a safe, supervised place to begin their recovery safely. To learn more about our Xanax addiction treatment program in South Florida, contact Mandala Healing Center today.