Xanax and Valium
Valium and Xanax are prescription drugs and are commonly referred to as sedatives and tranuquilizers. They are typically used to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia. However, these drugs are often used illegally when they are taken by someone other than the prescription holder or sold for profit on the streets.
- About 9% of Canadians in 2009 reported using sedative or tranquilizer drugs at least once in the previous year, but only 1.7% of them reported using the prescription drugs to get high (Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey 2009);
- A 2009 survey of Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 reported that 1.6 per cent had used sedatives or tranquilizers at least once in the past year (CAMH).
Tranquilizers, benzo, tranks, downers
How it works
Xanax and Valium act as depressors on your body. In small doses, they can make you feel relaxed and relieve any anxiety you may be experiencing but in large doses they make feel you very sleepy. They are found in the form of tablets or as a solution which can be injected.
Beside the usual sedative effects, Xanax and Valium can relieve tension and anxiety, lower inhibitions, reduce alertness, impair coordination and balance and affect your thinking, memory and judgment.
Mixing other depressants (such as alcohol) with tranquilizers such as Xanax and Valium can have potentially fatal effects. Signs of overdose include slurred speech, confusion, weakness and staggering, slow heart beat, breathing problems and unconsciousness. For more information on side effects, visit the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website.
Tolerance and dependence
Users can sometimes become addicted to these medications, and build tolerance to the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include: insomnia, tension, sweating, tremors, sensory disturbance, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, etc (CAMH).
Governed by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, prescription drugs such as Xanax and Valium are only legal when prescribed by a doctor. It is illegal to possess prescription drugs without a valid prescription or to get multiple prescriptions filled by different pharmacies (ex: lying about your identity, having a fake prescription, or getting multiple prescriptions by various doctors). Selling or buying these types of medications on the street are considered criminal offences.
What you can do
If you or someone you know has been using prescription medication without the direction of a doctor, you should talk to a trusted adult or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
Prescription medication should never be taken unless prescribed by a medical professional. For more information on prescription medication, visit the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website.