Xanax is the trade name for a prescription medication comprised of alprazolam that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
When purchased from a pharmacy, Xanax only contains the listed ingredients. Xanax that is sold on the street may be cut with other drugs or substances.
When Xanax is legally prescribed and obtained through a licensed pharmacy, there is no potential for it to be cut with other medications. There is an illicit market for Xanax, however.
Any substance purchased in illicit markets comes with the risk of contamination or deadly additives. Even pills that look like the prescription products they are being sold as may still contain fillers and dangerous substances, and they may not even contain any of the actual drug.
Fentanyl: Unfortunately, there have been reports of fake Xanax being sold on illicit markets, sometimes with deadly results. Some consumers have been sold counterfeit Xanax tablets that have been cut with fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous opiate that is 50 times more potent than morphine. People who took the fake tablets suffered heart attacks and heart failure as well as respiratory and nervous system distress.
Fentanyl has been an increasingly popular agent for drug dealers to use as a cutting agent because it is cheap and easy to obtain. It produces an intense high, giving the illusion of a quality product.
Opioids: When Xanax is mixed with opioids, such as heroin or fentanyl, it will amplify the sedative effects of both drugs, increasing the chance of overdose and addiction.
This makes for a dangerous combination because both classes of drugs can depress the respiratory system, and the combined effect increases the chances of overdose and respiratory distress.
More than 130 people die in the U.S. every day due to opioid overdoses, many of which are caused by polysubstance abuse.
Stimulants: When Xanax is cut with drugs that have stimulants effects, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, users will experience a “speedball” effect. The combined substances produce both the sedative effects of Xanax as well as the energetic and euphoric effects of the other drug.
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Testing kits are available for users to verify the purity of the drugs they are purchasing. These kits can test for a variety of different agents, but they may not be able to detect every possible contaminant.
Drug testing kits will indicate specifically which drugs can be detected. They can be an effective way to check the safety of a product you have purchased.
One important resource to consider may be fentanyl testing strips. Because fentanyl is the deadliest cutting agent on the market right now, contributing to the opioid overdose crisis, FTS may help people to at least determine if they are buying a fake Xanax pill cut with fentanyl.
With this knowledge, people can make informed decisions about their consumption of the product.
No. Fake pills are being sold in illicit markets that are such good forgeries that they even have the same pill stamp as the pharmaceutical company’s products. Attempts at “eyeballing” a pill to look for inconsistencies are not reliable enough to ensure the customer knows the contents of the pill.
If you think you may have taken a contaminated substance or that your Xanax has been laced with something else, seek medical attention immediately.
Signs of a Xanax overdose or potentially laced Xanax include the following:
If you experience any of these symptoms or notice anyone else experiencing these symptoms after taking Xanax, call 911. Overdoses can be treated and often reversed if medical care is quickly accessed.
Xanax is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It is a Schedule IV drug according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This means that it is defined as having a low risk of dependence and abuse. Despite this classification, Xanax is widely abused, and most professionals agree that it has a high potential for addiction.
The medication is taken orally when taken as prescribed, but some people misuse the substance by crushing and snorting it.
A study from the Journal of Addiction Medicine notes that people experience withdrawal symptoms after developing a dependence on Xanax. As a result, doctors generally recommend gradually tapering off the medication.
Xanax remains the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine in the U.S. as well as the most misused.
About Anxiety Disorders. Xanax.com from https://www.xanax.com/about-anxiety-disorders
(August 2016). Fake Xanax can be a Killer. CBS News from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fake-xanax-can-be-a-killer/
Drug Scheduling. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
(February 2018). High willingness to use rapid fentanyl test strips among young adults who use drugs. Harm Reduction Journal from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5806485/
(January 2018). A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal. Journal of Addiction Medicine from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/
(January 2019). Opioid Overdose Crisis. National Institute on Drug Abuse from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
(June 2016). Fentanyl. National Institute on Drug Abuse from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/fentanyl