Dangers of Xanax Bars: Xanax Pill Identifier

Last Updated: January 19, 2021

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Xanax (Alprazolam) is a powerful and highly addictive drug from the class of benzodiazepines, which can be prescribed by doctors to treat anxiety, phobias, and panic disorders. The medication was first introduced in the mid-1970s. It has become the most highly prescribed benzodiazepine in the United States, with about 50 million prescriptions written each year. In fact, Alprazolam is prescribed twice as frequently as other well-known benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan.

Xanax bars come in a variety of shapes, colors, and strengths. Read on to find out how to identify these pills, what the different colors mean, and how to spot fake Xanax.

Xanax Bars Explained

There are many different types of Alprazolam pills available by prescription and on the street. These are classified according to their strength or dosage. This is a potent medication that is prescribed in different doses to treat various mental health disorders. A Xanax pill press is a die set that is used to make perfectly shaped tablets.

Bar refers to the pill shape when it is long and thin. This is a specific form of the medication that contains a 2-mg dose. Therefore, the thin, long bar-shaped tablet contains a relatively high dose. In fact, it is the highest dosage form available other than a 3-mg extended-release tablet. The bar is scored into four smaller sections. This allows users to break the tablet and ingest a smaller fraction of the dose at any given time.

A Xanax bar contains two to four times the dose of medicine typically required to treat anxiety. Bars allow users to save money as they are cheaper than purchasing pills with a precise dose. Genuine bars have a characteristic scored appearance. Users who wish to take a smaller dose can break the bar into portions. Individuals who want to take a 2-mg dose can consume the entire bar.

Some Common Street Names and Slang Terms For Xanax Bars Are:

  • Zanzibars
  • Zanbars
  • Xanbars
  • Zanies
  • Planks

Different Colors Of Xanax Bars

Alprazolam is a powerful drug with a number of short-term and long-lasting health effects. It is available in an enormous variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. This is because each manufacturer wishes to make their pills unique and gives them a characteristic shape and color.

The pill color is usually due to FDA-approved colorants. It is a good idea to be aware of different colors and shapes of Alprazolam. This is useful in identifying suspected addiction in a friend or a member of the family.

Green Xanax Bar

Several different pharmaceutical companies produce this form of medication. Each manufacturer imprints the pills with their unique characteristics. Green pills are similar in strength to white and yellow Xanax bars and typically contain 2 mg. Therefore, the effects of the green pills are the same as those seen with yellow and white bars.

Green pills are available in rectangular, oval, triangular, and round shapes, usually in doses of 2 mg to 3 mg. In the oval shape, they are known as green football Xanax with a strength of 1 mg. Other street names include green oval and green monster Alprazolam. Hulk Xanax is a slow-release form with lower sedation effects. The triangular green pills have a strength of 3 mg, and this is the strongest dose available. In general, green pills are considered stronger than white ones. The green color of the pills comes from FDA-approved colorants. Many users report green bars are the most effective. Green pills are manufactured by pharmaceutical majors such as Actavis, DAVA, Pfizer, and Mylan.

Green Xanax Bars

Pink Bar

This is a dosage form of alprazolam with a strength of 3 mg, which is considered a high dose. These round or oval-shaped pink pills resemble a football. This type is not widely produced. Pink alprazolam is legally available by physician-authorized prescription only, but many people with a benzodiazepine addiction purchase it on the street or obtain it from friends and family members.

Pink Xanax Bar.

White Xanax Bar

These are rectangular bars that contain 2 mg of the active ingredient and go by the street name sticks. White is the most common color for medications. Many pharmaceutical companies around the world produce tablets of this color. This form of the drug produces strong sedation within minutes of being consumed. The bar is typically marked with scores to make it easy for the user to split into smaller portions. Because white Xanax bars have such a high strength, it is not advisable to quit them cold turkey because this can produce dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Each manufacturer puts their own unique imprint on the bars, for example, G 372 2 or X ANA X 2. White pills are also available in round, rectangular, oval, and five-sided shapes with strength varying from 0.25 mg to 2 mg.

White Xanax bars.

Yellow Xanax Bar

This type of pill is the generic form of the drug and sometimes has the number 039 imprinted on it. The strength of yellow Xanax bars is 2 mg, and they are similar in effect to the white-colored ones. The color difference is due to the tablets being manufactured by different companies. The street name for this type of alprazolam includes yellow school bus on account of the color and shape.

Yellow xanax bars.

Blue Xanax Bar

Most blue Xanax pills contain 1 mg of alprazolam, except for the 2 mg bar. Users can break the pills in half to consume a 0.5 mg dose. These pills are schedule IV controlled substances available by prescription only. The round blue Xanax pill of 1 mg strength is imprinted with 031 R by manufacturer Actavis. The blue color of these tablets comes from some inactive ingredients that are used as fillers. These colors are FDA-approved and are safe for human consumption. Blue football Alprazolam gets its name from the oblong shape that is easy to ingest.

Blue Xanax bars.

Peach Xanax Bar

Also known as orange Alprazolam, this is a lower dose of the drug and is usually oval or football-shaped. Pfizer manufactures elliptical/oval alprazolam in orange-colored pills of 0.5 mg strength. It is widely produced in doses ranging from 0.5 mg to 2 mg and is typically prescribed for less severe pain.

Peach Xanax bars.

Purple Xanax Bar

This is a popular form of medication manufactured by Pfizer. These round pills contain 2 mg of alprazolam and have the name of the drug and A23 imprinted on them. For anxiety disorders, the commonly prescribed dose is 0.25 or 0.5 mg. The maximum dose corresponds to about 2 purple Alprazolam footballs. As with all forms of alprazolam, this drug is contraindicated in pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding, people with narrow-angle glaucoma, individuals with severe kidney or liver disease, and people with allergies to other benzodiazepines. Alprazolam is not prescribed to children and should be used with caution in elderly patients.

Purple Xanax bars.

Liquid Alprazolam: How Is It Different From Pills?

There is a liquid form of alprazolam available, although it is not widely prescribed. Each mL of the liquid contains 2 mg of Alprazolam. This is an alternate form of ingesting the drug, which produces the same effects as the tablets. Liquid Alprazolam is prescribed for generalized anxiety disorders, depression, panic disorders, insomnia, and sometimes also for alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

To ingest liquid alprazolam, it is generally recommended to mix the medication in applesauce, pudding, or a beverage. The two should be combined just before consumption and not in advance. The liquid form is faster acting than the pill form as it is absorbed more readily. The bottle of medication must be refrigerated to maintain its efficacy. A common medication mistake is measuring out the liquid drug in a regular spoon. It is important to measure out the medicine in a special spoon or cup for dose accuracy. Liquid alprazolam can be ingested with or without food.

Fake Xanax

When Alprazolam is used correctly, it is relatively safe. However, fake Xanax is not safe at all. Moreover, it has been manufactured to seem similar to the original. People may buy fake Xanax Bars on the street because it can be easier and cheaper to obtain. The reason why fake Alprazolam is so dangerous is that it often contains an ingredient called Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. So, when people take fake drug laced with Fentanyl, it can cause Alprazolam overdoses easily.

Signs Of Taking a Fake Xanax Bar Laced With Fentanyl Include:

  • Limp body
  • Labored, shallow, or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Lips, fingers, or face turning blue
  • Clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Convulsions
  • Death rattle (labored exhale that may resemble snoring)

How to Avoid the Fake Xanax Bar?

The best and most obvious way to avoid fake Xanax bars is to take the medication prescribed by a physician and purchased from a licensed pharmacy. If one buys anything on the street claimed to be Alprazolam, it could easily be a fake Xanax bar. This means that there is a perfect chance that it could be laced with Fentanyl and could potentially kill.

There is no way to know with one hundred percent certainty that a drug bought on the street is real. So, when it comes to purchasing real vs. fake Xanax, the only way to do this is never to buy drugs on the street. Even if Alprazolam is bought with a prescription, a dangerous addiction still may develop. So, the best route to take is to avoid Alprazolam altogether if possible.

Taking The Medication Safely

Like any medication, Alprazolam can cause different side effects, but the risks are lower if taken according to the prescription. It is vital to know the shapes and strengths of different Xanax bars to avoid taking too much. Another risk is encountering fake Xanax, which can lead to devastating consequences. Many people buy Alprazolam on the street because it is relatively cheaper. However, knockoff street drugs that are manufactured in secret and illicit labs can easily result in death.

If someone is abusing Alprazolam without a doctor’s prescription, it is important to get it out of the system under medical supervision. The detoxification process depends on the duration, frequency, and dose being abused. Doctors slowly wean off the drug over a period of weeks. It usually takes about one week for the medication to be completely removed from the body. Trained staff can help addicts cope with withdrawal symptoms and provide medications for comfort. Further into the detoxification process, the focus shifts from physical symptoms to addressing the addiction’s root cause. Techniques such as group and individual counseling and cognitive behavior therapy are used to encourage positive behaviors.


Page Sources

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 6 Tips to Avoid Medication Mistakes. 2015. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/6-tips-avoid-medication-mistakes
  2. Carroll County Health Department. Alert: Counterfeit Street Pills and Fentanyl-Related Overdoses in Carroll County. https://cchd.maryland.gov/alert-counterfeit-street-pills-and-fentanyl-related-overdoses-in-carroll-county/
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Alprazolam, 2020. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html
  4. Tobin T. George; Jayson Tripp, Alprazolam, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538165/

Published on: November 16th, 2016

Updated on: January 19th, 2021

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.