Counterfeit Street Drugs Tied To Deadly Overdoses

Law enforcement agencies across the US are warning against a new “super pill” that is said to have caused at least 9 deaths in Florida in just a few months. This “super pill” is fake Xanax. 

People are purchasing the counterfeit drug under the impression that they are getting Xanax, a powerful Benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. However, what they received instead was Fentanyl, a highly addictive Painkiller commonly prescribed to cancer patients to treat extreme discomfort.

Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than Morphine and 50 times stronger than Heroin.

Police were notified…of the latest overdose case when an 18-year-old was hospitalized. Investigators said he reported having taken a Xanax, however it didn’t test positive for the drug.

- Wane Indiana TV News

The counterfeit pills are manufactured to look exactly like a 2mg Xanax pill, even bearing a fake “XANAX” label and a similar shape, size, and color.

The pills are said to be mass-produced in illegal labs with the intention of being sold on the streets. 

Consumers have no idea what they are buying when they purchase prescription drugs on the street and just one pill can be deadly.

- FDLE’s Danny Banks, an Orlando special agent,

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The Deadly Effects Of Fentanyl Use

According to the Food and Drug Administration, even the smallest dose of Fentanyl available is enough to cause deadly side effects in those taking it for the first time.

This is especially true for people who believe they are consuming a completely different type of drug, as they aren’t prepared for the effects this “super pill” can produce.

Risky side effects of Xanax include:

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma

Dangerous side effects of Fentanyl include:

  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision

For individuals who are under the impression that what they are ingesting is a completely different substance, this can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation. Because of how potent substances like Fentanyl can be, even habitual users of these drugs stand a high chance of overdosing.

Jerome Butler was one of the people found unresponsive after overdosing from a Fentanyl pill he bought thinking it was another drug

It shut down his organs. It shut down his kidneys. It shut down his liver. His brain was swollen. The doctor said…there was nothing he could do for him. From one pill.

- Natasha Butler, Jerome’s mother, Fox 40

Getting Smart About Street Drugs

No matter what drug you are buying off the street, it is virtually impossible to truly know what chemicals were used during production.

The deaths caused by Fentanyl pills disguised as Xanax provide a harrowing look into the real danger of purchasing prescription drugs on the street.

Many of the risks that come with buying illicit drugs stem from added substances, as they are typically “cut” with an array of different chemicals in order to make mass-production cost efficient.

Common substances found in street drugs include:

  • Chalk
  • Rat poison
  • Battery acid
  • Baking powder
  • Ammonia
  • Hydrochloric acid

Just one “super pill” could be the difference between life and death. The only way to protect yourself against the danger of street drugs and the various chemicals used in their production is to steer clear of them all together. 

Addictions may be different for different people. What we do know is there are steps that can be taken to get through addiction and get to the other side.

- President Obama, Fox 40

If you or someone you know is struggling with a drug addiction, there is help available. Contact a treatment provider for more information.

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