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Xanax (Alprazolam) Nicknames, Street Names, and Slang

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Xanax, whose generic name is alprazolam, is a medication classified as a benzodiazepine. It works by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

Xanax is primarily prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety associated with depression. It is a potent and fast-acting medication that can temporarily relieve symptoms. However, its calming effects have also become popular as a recreational drug.

The popularity of Xanax as a recreational drug has led to the development of numerous street names, nicknames, and slang terms associated with it. These names often originate from the drug’s appearance, effects, or cultural references. Some terms may vary regionally or evolve as new slang emerges.

The prevalence of multiple names and nicknames for Xanax can be attributed to various factors. Firstly, the drug’s popularity and cultural influence, particularly in music, movies, and social media, play a role in adopting different terms. Subcultures and specific drug scenes also develop terminology to establish belonging and insider knowledge within their communities.

Additionally, some individuals may use alternative names or slang to conceal their illicit drug use from authorities or parents. Finally, variations in slang terms can arise due to regional differences and local drug cultures, resulting in distinct names used in different areas.

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Common Nicknames, Slang, & Street Names for Xanax (Alprazolam)

Xanax bars and alprazolam, like many other drugs, have acquired various street names, nicknames, and slang terms over time. It’s important to note that such terms often indicate illegal or recreational use instead of legitimate medical use.

Here are some common street names and slang terms associated with Xanax bars:

  • Bars – Referring to the shape of the Xanax tablets, which are often divided into four segments.
  • Xannies – A shortened form of Xanax.
  • Xanax Sticks – Refers to the elongated shape of the bars.
  • Xanbars – A combination of “Xanax” and “bars.”
  • Z-Bars – Derived from the “Z” imprint sometimes found on Xanax bars.
  • Benzos – Short for benzodiazepines, the drug class to which Xanax belongs.
  • Handlebars – A term used to suggest the calming effect of Xanax on anxiety or stress.
  • Footballs – Refers to the smaller oval-shaped Xanax tablets, often indicating a lower dosage.
  • School Bus – Used to describe the yellow-colored Xanax bars.
  • White Boys – A term sometimes used to describe white Xanax bars.

Using Xanax without a prescription or for recreational purposes can be dangerous and illegal. Misuse of Xanax can lead to dependence, addiction, and various adverse effects.

What Are the Most Common & Popular Nicknames for Xanax?

The usage of specific nicknames and slang terms for Xanax can vary across different regions of the United States. While it is challenging to pinpoint exact locations, here is a general overview of how some of these terms have developed and their potential regional associations:

  • Xannies, Bars, Benzos, Xan, Xanbars, Zannies, Z-bars: These terms are commonly used throughout the United States and are not limited to specific regions.
  • Handlebars – This term may have originated in certain urban areas or among specific subcultures where Xanax misuse is prevalent. It refers to the drug’s sedative effects, making users feel “loose” or “floppy” like handlebars.
  • Footballs, Blue Footballs – The term “footballs” is more widespread and not region-specific, referring to Xanax tablets that are small and oval-shaped, resembling footballs. Adding “blue” indicates a specific color variation of the tablet and might not be limited to a particular region.
  • School Bus – This term is often used to refer to Xanax bars that are yellow, resembling a school bus. It has been observed in various regions, including urban areas.
  • White Boys – Referring to white-colored Xanax tablets, this term has been reported in different parts of the country. It is not region-specific.

The development of these terms is influenced by factors such as popular culture, local drug scenes, and the need for discretion or secrecy. Slang terms can evolve and spread through social networks, online communities, and music or entertainment platforms, transcending regional boundaries.

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Why Do People Refer to Xanax by Different Nicknames & Slang?

There are several reasons why people refer to Xanax by different nicknames and slang terms:

  • Camouflage and Secrecy – Using nicknames and slang can help individuals conceal their illicit drug use from others, including authorities, parents, or peers. By using alternative names, they can discuss or acquire the drug discreetly.
  • Subculture and Identity – Different subcultures and drug scenes often develop language and terminology to establish identity, signal to belong, or distinguish themselves from others. Nicknames and slang terms for Xanax may emerge within these communities to create a sense of unity and shared knowledge.
  • Popular Culture and Media Influence – The use and portrayal of Xanax in popular culture, including music, movies, and social media, can significantly influence the adoption of various nicknames and slang terms. When a drug is featured or referenced in mainstream media, it can lead to the proliferation of associated names and language.
  • Regional Variations – Slang terms can vary based on geographical location or local drug cultures. Different regions or communities may develop unique nicknames and slang terms for Xanax, influenced by local dialects, cultural references, or drug market dynamics.
  • Creativity and Expression – Some individuals may use nicknames and slang terms as a form of creativity or self-expression. Coming up with unique or clever names for substances can be seen as a way to personalize their drug use experience or make it more engaging.

Are There Street Names for Benzodiazepines?

Street names commonly refer to benzodiazepines, including Xanax (alprazolam) and other drugs in the same class.

Some of the street names for benzodiazepines are:

  • Benzos – This is a general term for benzodiazepines as a class of drugs.
  • Tranqs – Short for tranquilizers, a term often associated with benzodiazepines due to their calming and sedating effects.
  • Downers – Refers to the depressant effects of benzodiazepines, which can induce relaxation and sedation.
  • Tranks – Another shortened version of tranquilizers.
  • Sleepeasy – A term used to indicate the potential of benzodiazepines to help induce sleep or treat insomnia.
  • Chill Pills – This term describes benzodiazepines’ ability to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
  • Candy – Sometimes benzodiazepines are called “candy” due to their pill form and potential for misuse or recreational use.
  • Forget-Me-Nots – This nickname emphasizes the potential for benzodiazepines to cause memory impairment and amnesia.
  • Stupefy – This term alludes to the sedating and mind-altering effects of benzodiazepines.
  • Sleepers are often used to refer to benzodiazepines due to their sleep-inducing properties.

Does Xanax Have Different Slang Terms Depending on Its Form?

Xanax (alprazolam) may have different slang terms or street names based on its form or appearance. The most common forms of Xanax are tablets, and different slang terms may be used to describe specific variations. Here are a few examples:

  • Xanax Bars – Refers to rectangular-shaped Xanax tablets that can be divided into smaller doses. They are typically scored, allowing for easy splitting. This form is often associated with higher doses, such as 2 mg tablets.
  • Xanax Footballs – Describes Xanax tablets that are small and oval-shaped, resembling footballs. These tablets are typically lower in dosage, such as 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg.
  • School Bus – This term is used specifically for Xanax bars that are yellow, resembling the color of a school bus.

It’s important to note that slang terms can vary among different communities or regions, and these terms may only be universally recognized or used sometimes.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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