* * Anonymous Doc: How about listening to your doctor instead of listening to Xanax?

Monday, March 19, 2012

How about listening to your doctor instead of listening to Xanax?

Someone forwarded me this idiotic article from New York magazine about how Xanax is awesome and everyone should take benzos and there are no side effects and they're super cheap and you can get them from your relatives on hospice or your zonked-out friends so you don't even need a prescription.

I, the author of an anonymous blog, am certainly not one to preach about responsible and irresponsible writing, but, hey, I'm not calling this journalism.

The article pushes to the side the fact that these things are addictive, dangerous to stop, and for the writer of the piece to toss away the idea of therapy, to toss away the idea THAT YOU SHOULD GO TO A DAMN DOCTOR instead of experimenting with random pills from your dying mother's bedside collection is seriously screwed up. Maybe she wants to meet some patients going through rehab for benzo addiction.

In my social circle, benzodiazepines are traded with generosity and goodwill. My first Klonopin was given to me three years ago by a friend ... (Such casual bigheartedness is perhaps abetted by how cheap alprazolam can be. “How’s this for something nutty,” the same friend wrote to me in an e-mail. “Just refilled alprazolam. It was $2.56 for 30 tabs. Less than pretty much anything in the drugstore except maybe gum or Blistex.”)

Was this article paid for by the drug industry??? Also, who thinks it makes any sense to give out drug prices? Is that an insurance co-pay, or the price from her dealer in a back alley?



  1. I totally agree with your comments, and I am surprised by how casually people share their medications. I would never think of sharing prescription drugs with family or friends! What if the other person has an allergy or atypical reaction?! My doctor prescribed them knowing my condition(s), my previous reactions to meds, other things I am taking, a bit about my phsyiology, has an idea of dosage that may work for me, and also monitors me through follow up visits.

    How very irresponsible for someone to promote taking other people's medications, and how very irresponsible of friends and caregivers to allow others to coerce them into sharing such items. There's a reason they're called prescription medicines. You want some? Go see a doctor.

  2. Once you've seen the results of a friend sharing (with "generosity and goodwill") their methadone with someone else, you won't ever think it's acceptable to share meds. Young, healthy, vibrant kid now with serious brain injury and no hope for recovery due to lack of oxygen when the med made them lose their respiratory drive and others just thought he was sleeping.... And all because someone wanted to "help" him get rid of his bad headache. All with the best of intentions.

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, it's ILLEGAL to share prescription medications - and this is why!


  3. I'm autistic and have a mild anxiety disorder as well. I take Xanax for my occasional panic attacks, and it's awesome then. I go from being freaked out, sense of impending doom and all that, to "honey badger don't care."

    That article was ridiculous--stealing drugs from your mother? I can sort of understand sharing drugs with your friends if you're on the same medications and dosages, and there's a sudden desperate need for it (under really serious circumstances basically), but just trading drugs with friends in a circle where no one apparently has any medical need for them?

    Also, why would someone think it's acceptable enough to steal their dying mother's medication that they would write about it in an article like that? I don't care how upset you are, get your own damn prescription. That's despicable.

    1. Another note: I've never really understood recreational use of Xanax and Ativan. I've been on both at various times. In early February this year my doctor gave me 20 Xanax and I've taken like three. I don't take them unless I absolutely have to, because they make me tired and unable to get things done. I wouldn't describe it as a high, it just calms me down. I get why people take Vicodin recreationally--it's stupid, but it feels good. Xanax doesn't feel good, it just feels better than the panic attack. It's like people take it recreationally because sleeping is fun.

    2. Xanax does make some people feel good, especially those that have no need for it and no underlying disorder. Also people that abuse Xanax many times crush it up and snort it, causing much wilder swings in their blood concentrations than you would have ever experienced by just taking it orally. Even though it makes you feel tired and is sedative, taking it this way can cause euphoria in some people.

  4. The article is just a social commentary on what a good portion of the population is already doing: popping pills. I found it to be somewhat thought-provoking and not necessary for the author to address how we can safely and soundly tackle our anxieties. It wasn't about being healthy or reasonable, it was about the quick fix choices we make daily. The scenarios the author presented are so incredibly common and yet not often so openly addressed, particularly in such an accepting and approving tone. I thought it was an interesting way of opening it all up for discussion. She certainly got you thinking/reacting (even if the only thing you were thinking was 'what an idiot').
    Very Valley of the Dolls feel to it...

    1. No, I don't buy it. This article (or at least, the bits I managed to read before turning away in revulsion - so I apologise in advance if maybe I missed something) did not sound like social commentary, to me. It sounded too smug, for that. And the whole 'we are actually addicted to our anxieties' thing just smacks of the writer trying to come up with a clever punchline, something that sounds deep (and slightly bohemian and reckless) but actually doesn't mean anything.
      As for the scenarios being 'so incredibly common and yet not often so openly addressed'? Well, I have no idea if they're common. I definitely never ran into them, but perhaps I'm running in the wrong circles, hanging out with all the squares who would never dream of taking prescription medication without a prescription or of stealing pills from their dying relatives. But there's no use of openly addressing these situations if it's done the way the writer of this article does it - without even the slightest bit of shame or or recognising that these actions have consequences.
      I have no sympathy for the writer, or for the society described in the article, sorry. I think that anyone that indulges in this kind of behaviour is an idiot, pure and simple; and in the case of the writer, criminally so.

  5. Would you rather these people develop a habit of smoking pot, or have them pop a benzo every now and then?

    And I'm sure doctors from early last century would've preferred if nobody tried to fix their back pain with heroin, and their heroin addiction with cocaine, but the reality is that people have needs and if somebody doesn't address them, you either get addicts or riots, and you're lucky to only get one at once.

  6. But it makes me feel so good, doc! And isn't that what life is really all about?