Is Xanax a narcotic?

NO. Xanax is neither a medical nor a legal narcotic. But Xanax is a controlled substance narcotic. This means that if you take Xanax without a prescription, legal consequences are possible. More on the classification of Xanax as a narcotic here.

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 No.  Xanax is neither a legal nor a medical narcotic.

Will one Xanax get you high?  Probably not.  But using Xanax use outside of a prescription is illegal as Xanax is a Schedule IV benzodiazepine under the Controlled Substances Act .  Still,  Xanax is not  a medical narcotic. Narcotic drugs are used for pain management, have a high abuse potential and are generally classified as a Schedule I, II or III drugs by the Controlled Substances Act.  More on Xanax as a narcotic here, with a section at the end for your questions about Xanax.

Looking for drug addiction help but don’t know what the rehab process entails? Learn more in our A-Z guide on Narcotic Addiction Treatment Programs and Help to get better prepared.

Xanax is not a legal narcotic

Why is Xanax a Schedule IV narcotic drug?

Xanax is a Schedule IV narcotic because although Xanax has a medical use, the drug is still considered to have potential for abuse.  The potential for abuse of Xanax, however, is rather low and has been assigned Schedule IV status due to its limited physical or psychological dependence, relative to drugs in Schedule III.  Still, making Xanax an scheduled drug means that taking Xanax without a prescription or other than prescribed is illegal.

Xanax is not a medical narcotic

The main ingredient of Xanax (alprazolam) is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Alprazolam is prescribed for the management of anxiety disorder and can cause central nervous system depressant effects. Once more commonly prescribed for generalized anxiety, doctors are beginning to notice the abuse potential of Xanax. Xanax is now recommended as a short term treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.

Furthermore, the benzodiazepine class of drugs is called tranquilizers or sedatives, since they depress the central nervous system. Xanax is perhaps one of the safest benzodiazepines in terms of addictive potential, but users should still use caution when taking Xanax.

Xanax narcotic abuse

You are abusing Xanax if you take Xanax to get high. If you are using Xanax as an emotional or mental coping mechanism for dealing with life, you risk both physical and psychological dependence on Xanax. The risk of psychological dependence may also increase at doses greater than 4 mg/day and with longer term use.   But can you die from Xanax?  Yes, it is possible to overdose on Xanax, especially when combined with other central nervous system depressants.

Is Xanax addictive?

Can you get addicted to Xanax bars? Yes.  Xanax can be addictive.

Especially if you are using Xanax to get high. Although Xanax addiction occurs after chronic use of Xanax over time, some people may need to take Xanax on a daily basis. Be sure to monitor your Xanax prescription use with your doctor. And BE AWARE that even medically advised use of Xanax can develop into addiction over time. Furthermore, if you are taking Xanax without a prescription or are using Xanax other than prescribed your risk of Xanax addiction increases. Xanax addiction risk is further increased in people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Should Xanax narcotic classification change?

According to NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse), Xanax is one of the most commonly abused prescription medications, second behind pain medications. Perhaps people believe that because a drug is prescribed and is not a medical analgesic, it is not addictive or dangerous. But according to the National Survey for Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), millions of people aged 12 and older have misused benzodiazepines in their lifetime.

We cannot assume that simply because Xanax is a Schedule IV drug and is “not medically narcotic” that Xanax is a safe drug. Taken illicitly, for extended periods, in higher and higher doses, tolerance to Xanax can occur, with serious effects.  And given the addictive nature of Xanax, perhaps its scheduling should become more strict.  So what do you think?  Should Xanax be more strictly regulated?  Is the Schedule IV classification for Xanax enough?  Your comments and opinions are welcomed and will be published at the bottom of this article.

Xanax narcotic questions

Do you still have questions about the status of Xanax as a narcotic? Do you have questions about the possession or Xanax or how to use it? Please let us know. We are here to answer questions about alprazolam or Xanax. We try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: Facts on drugs
DEA schedules for drugs
NIDA for Teens: Prescription Drugs
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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