Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine anxiolytic, chemically similar to other benzodiazepines such as diazepam and clonazepam. It acts as a sedative and central nervous system (CNS) depressant on the GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid) receptor system and is regularly prescribed as a treatment for numerous nervous disorders.

In the UK, it is most commonly seen under the trade name Xanax, and is widely used both under prescription and illicitly as a recreational substance, the latter being due to its relaxant properties which help the user ‘chill out’ and feel more sociable.

Tolerance to Xanax develops very quickly, meaning the user needs increasing amounts to achieve the same feeling. Unfortunately, this tendency towards regular and/or heavy use means dependence and addiction are easily reached.