Xanax abuse is not as widely discussed as other prescription drug problems, but it is becoming more common. As if the drug wasn’t bad enough when people get addicted, now investigators have discovered that some drug dealers are manufacturing fake Xanax that has been combined with fentanyl.
Among opioid users, Xanax use is a well-known addition to their drug consumption since it produces a different type of high. It may be because of this, that drug dealers have decided to make their own form of Xanax, by mixing it with fentanyl, which is a powerful synthetic opiate that is often given to people who are recovering from surgery.
“Young adults in particular are at high risk for nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals, with estimates that nearly 3 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 25 have engaged in the nonmedical use of pain relievers in the previous month. The nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals represents a serious and burgeoning public health risk. Of great concern is that people may be turning to street dealers to purchase these pharmaceuticals and be exposed to dangerous counterfeit products,” said Annie Arens, a toxicology expert at the University of California, San Francisco.
This new drug combination is showing up in different parts of the country already, as there have been cases in Florida to California. Accidental overdoses are more common when the user is not aware of what they are taking. Many experts are very concerned because of the deadly combination of these drugs.
According to the DEA, fentanyl traffickers have been successful at expanding the market and introducing new drugs laced with it to the U.S. drug market. The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) reported that there were 13,002 fentanyl exhibits tested by forensic laboratories across the country in, which is a 65 percent increase from the 7,864 exhibits the year before. There were approximately eight times as many instances in 2015 as there were during the 2006 fentanyl crisis, clearly demonstrating the unprecedented threat and expansion of the fentanyl market.