Counterfeit Xanax, a drug 100 times stronger than heroin, has been in circulation in Devon.
The drug is popular among youths. It’s often distributed in parties and clubs, where it’s ingested with alcohol.
Xanax is popular in the US as a mild sedative for treating anxiety.
Although available only through private prescription, UK has become the second-largest market for dark sales of its counterfeit. It’s obtained through hidden websites on the dark net.
Kingsbridge Police have reports of the drug circulating in the South West region, and has asked anyone who believes they may be in possession of the drug to call them immediately.
Fake Xanax contains Fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opiate which shouldn’t be touched, let alone ingested.
Its side effects range from drowsiness to heart failure and loss of function in the respiratory and nervous systems.
Last year, Scott Giddy of Bideford died after taking a high dose of Xanax. His family asked that preventive measures be taken against vulnerable people, like the autistic 33-year-old, self medicating from the Internet.
In 2016, 5 teenagers were taken to the intensive care unit after ingesting fake Xanax with alcohol.
PC Simon Blyth, the neighbourhood beat manager for Sidmouth, said: “Taking a drug that was not prescribed, in conjunction with drinking alcohol, resulted in five young people being hospitalised.”
“It is through good fortune and the high standard of the NHS, which meant there were no fatalities.”