Is Xanax and Meth a Safe Mixing Combination (& How?)
No, it is never safe to mix Xanax and meth. Doing so can result in overdose and death.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax, generically known as alprazolam, belongs to a category of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are most commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders as well as seizure disorders.
Xanax is the most frequently prescribed benzodiazepine and psychiatric medication in the United States.
Xanax is prescribed so frequently because it is very effective at increasing feelings of calm and relaxation relatively quickly. For people who struggle with debilitating anxiety, the medication can be extremely helpful for managing their symptoms. As the rates of Xanax prescriptions being filled increased over the last few years, however, so have the rates of misuse.
Xanax is a widely misused prescription medication. People in search of a quick and relaxing high turn to it to get their fix.
The medication produces calming and relaxing feelings even in people who don’t suffer from anxiety or panic disorders. Additionally, if taken in high doses, the drug can also produce a euphoric feeling.
Using Xanax just to get high, however, is a dangerous practice.
In 2011, 1.2 million emergency room visits were due to misuse of prescription drugs. Xanax was responsible for 10 percent of those incidents.
From 2005 to 2010, the nonmedical use of Xanax doubled. The most common causes of drug-related complications that send people to the emergency room include combinations of Xanax and alcohol or Xanax and prescription opioid medications.
What Is Meth?
Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful stimulant drug that is primarily bought and sold illegally on the streets. It is produced in labs and almost chemically identical to amphetamine, which is used in prescription medications for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep disorders like narcolepsy.
Meth has a long history of recreational misuse due to the intense euphoric high that rushes over people as soon as they ingest it.
Meth works by flooding the brain with dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that sends pleasure signals throughout the body and is responsible for reinforcing rewarding behaviors. The high that meth produces is a strong reward that encourages people to use the drug over and over again.
To take meth, people can inhale, smoke, swallow, snort, or inject the drug. It usually comes in the form of a white powder or pressed into pills.
Crystal meth, is a form of meth that comes in hard bluish or white fragments that looks like glass. Depending on the method of use, the powder or crystal forms of the drug can be mixed with water or melted down to be smoked or injected.
An estimated 25 million people around the world abuse meth each year.
Can Meth and Xanax Ever Safely Be Mixed?
It is never safe to mix meth and Xanax because they send opposing messages throughout your body. Meth (a stimulant) increases alertness, heart rate, and blood pressure, while Xanax (a central nervous system depressant) does just the opposite.
Xanax works hard to reduce excess activity in the brain that is causing people to experience anxiety or seizures.
When two substances are taken that have contradictory purposes, it is very challenging for the body to figure out how to respond properly. The body struggles to metabolize either drug efficiently and a buildup of drugs in the system is likely to occur. Drugs are toxic chemicals so this buildup can have serious health consequences, such as heart attack, stroke, or overdose.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2014 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Report, 62 percent of visits to emergency departments in 2011 for meth also involved other drugs. Eleven percent of these visits were due to meth combined with benzodiazepines.
Combining meth with other drugs is extremely dangerous due to the unpredictable effects all substances could have on the central nervous system.
Side Effects of Xanax
Prescription medications like Xanax are associated with a host of side effects, whether you are taking the drug to manage a medical condition or just to get high. It is expected that some mild side effects will be experienced with the onset of use, though they should clear up on their own as your body adapts to the substance in its system.
Side effects of Xanax include the following:
• Drowsiness and tiredness
• Dizziness and lightheadedness
• Memory problems
• Impaired coordination and concentration
• Slurred speech
• Blurry vision
• Diarrhea and/or constipation
• Upset stomach
• Nausea and vomiting
• Changes in appetite and weight
• Muscle weakness
• Decreased libido
• Dry mouth
• Stuffy nose
Side Effects of Meth
Meth is a highly potent and highly addictive substance that is likely to cause side effects in users. The severity of side effects will depend on how much meth is being used, how frequently you are taking it, as well as your personal response to the drug.
Common side effects of meth include the following:
• Dry mouth
• Upset stomach
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Unusual thoughts or behavior
• Hostile or aggressive behavior
• Vision changes
• Irregular heartbeat
• Chest pain
Long-Term Risks Associated With Xanax and Meth
Using any drug long term poses certain risks to your health, and Xanax and meth are no exception. Risks associated with long-term use of both drugs include:
• Tolerance. Over time, your body will become less sensitive to the drug. You have to either switch drugs or take more of the drug to achieve desired effects.
• Dependence. The longer you use a drug, the more likely you are to become physically and psychologically dependent on it. Stopping drug use once dependent will most likely cause withdrawal symptoms.
• Addiction. If you do not change your drug use habits once dependence has occurred, you are likely to develop a substance use disorder, which is marked by an uncontrollable urge to use the drug despite negative consequences.
• Overdose. The longer you use Xanax and meth, the higher doses of each drug you are likely to need to get the high you are looking for. As dosage levels increase, so does your risk of overdosing. It is possible to overdose on both Xanax and meth.
In addition to the above risks that are associated with long-term drug use, long-term meth use poses some unique health risks. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), long-term meth users often experience the following:
• Extreme weight loss
• Severe dental problems known as meth mouth
• Intense itching and resulting skin sores and infections
• Sleep problems
• Violent behavior
• Risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B and C for people who inject the drug
People who abuse meth over time often experience chemical and physical changes to the brain as well. These changes are associated with reduced coordination, impaired verbal learning, decreased memory, and emotional and cognitive changes.
For some people, these changes reverse themselves after at least a year of being sober. For other people, the changes can be permanent.
Why Mix Meth and Xanax?
People report mixing Xanax and meth in an attempt to manage side effects of either drug. Xanax is sometimes taken by people who wish to control their comedown from meth. Because Xanax produces calming effects, some people believe it can help them reduce overstimulation caused by meth.
This is a very risky practice, as it is very hard to predict how the drugs will interact in your system.
If the substances are mixed, it is important to be aware of any signs of an overdose or health complications that may require medical intervention. Getting help sooner rather than later can prevent an overdose from becoming fatal.
Emergency Department Visits Involving Methamphetamine: 2007 to 2011. (June 2014). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: The DAWN Report.
Tolerance, Dependence, Addiction: What’s the Difference? (January 2017). National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens.
What Is Methamphetamine? (June 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What Is Methamphetamine? (August 2014). Everyday Health.
What You Need to Know About Xanax. (December 2017). Medical News Today.
Xanax. (March 2017). RxList.