We’re feeling the anxiety these days and an increasing number of people are turning to drugs like Xanax – a mild sedative used to treat anxiety – as a way to better function in their daily lives. But with more users, the likelihood of abuse also increases, leading some to turn to street dealers when legal prescriptions run out.
As with any drug off the street, buyers may not be getting what they bargained for – a counterfeit pill made to look like Xanax has been popping up nationwide.
And while it claims to be the real deal, these pills are really cut with fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic painkiller commonly prescribed to cancer patients to treat extreme discomfort.
Fentanyl is the strongest prescription painkiller on the market: 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. And according to the Food and Drug Administration, even the smallest dose is enough to cause deadly side effects – especially in those taking it for the first time.
According to experts, a dose of fentanyl equal to the size of three grains of sand can kill. It’s also cheap and easy to obtain, which is music to dealers’ and street manufacturers’ ears – fentanyl is now the ideal ingredient to mix with other drugs.
A Deadly Purchase
Most buyers simply don’t realize they’re getting something totally different than what they intended to purchase, especially when this new counterfeit Xanax is made to look exactly like a 2mg Xanax pill. It even bears the fake “XANAX” label, along with boasting a similar size, shape and color. Some of these fake pills are so good, in fact, even forensic scientists can’t tell the difference just by looking at them. That’s just how good these counterfeiters have become at manufacturing Xanax dupes.
Late last year, at least nine people in the San Francisco area fell prey to fake Xanax pills
laced with fentanyl. Three suffered from heart attacks and one from heart failure, while others experienced a major hit to respiratory and nervous system function. One of the victims even died.
These cases should serve as a warning to anyone who’s tempted to buy prescription medications from street dealers or shady websites. The only way to protect yourself – and your loved ones – against unknowingly coming into contact with them is to steer clear of street drugs altogether.