As if Floridians didn’t have enough opiates to worry about, a new fake Xanax pill is being trafficked on the streets of Pinellas County – and it’s deadly. According to Fox 13, it’s already killed 9 nine.
On other occasions, investigators managed to purchase the fake Xanax in undercover buys. The drug has also reportedly been found in both Brevard and Osceola Counties.
According to the The Washington Times, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a warning last week. These drugs appear to be, and are sold are painkillers, but they actually contain potentially lethal levels of fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid, and may be up to 50 times more potent than heroin. It was originally synthesized as a last-resort painkiller, and is usually only administered for aesthetic purposes, or for end-of-life scenarios.
Fentanyl may be deadly even when simply exposed to bare skin. That’s right – just handling a pill could be fatal. It’s been also commonly used as a tranquilizers for large animals, such as horses, as more proof of its unbelievable toxicity.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is an anti-anxiety benzodiazepine medication frequency given for panic disorder, panic attacks, insomnia, and social anxiety disorder. It can have profound sedative effects, and while not generally fatal on its own, even in very high doses, when mixed with opiates or alcohol the end result can be lethal.
There has been a recent boom in the number of toxicology reports coming back with fentanyl being laced into prescription drugs. These include Percocet, Oxycodone, and yes, Xanax.
It’s also been mixed into heroin, or outright swapped for it without the buyer knowing what they are getting. Deaths have also been reported nationally, particularly in the New England states and northeast.
And most recently, a wave of deaths have been reported in Sacramento, CA.
In Pinellas County, reports of deaths grew significantly from 14 in 2014 to 71 in 2015 – an increase of over 80% in just one year.
Currently, law enforcement is ensure whether the mixture is being produced locally, or has been imported. It is known, however, that Mexican drug cartels have been manufacturing fentanyl along with heroin, to meet the growing demand for opioids brought about by the prescription painkiller epidemic. Also, there’s been recent news of fentanyl coming from China – hence the street name “China White”
Law enforcement urges all persons to only consume medication which was prescribed for them, and obtained from a licensed pharmacy.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology