Xanax, the new club drug, is becoming increasingly pervasive in pop culture. Instagram celebrities, rappers, and stars mention, glorify, and even do commercial promotions for Xanax. It is thought of as more harmless than other drugs – a way to relax, have fun, and feel a mild high without much risk3. However, that is not the case with the introduction of fentanyl. Nightclub overdoses have become a growing danger with the wide distribution of Fentanyl-laced Xanax.
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin, and 100 times stronger than morphine1. Though it is used under the careful watch of doctors to treat acute pain, it is incredibly powerful and poses a risk of death within a matter of hours when taken unsupervised. Though some individuals are more sensitive to the drug than others, it poses a danger to anyone who ingests it – knowingly or unknowingly. Fentanyl has become lethal to the club scene.
Celebrity And High Profile Deaths Related To Fentanyl-Laced Xanax
Thousands die of overdoses every year, and many of those deaths are related to opiates. In addition to all the tragic deaths that do not make the news, several high-profile deaths have drawn awareness to the dangers of fentanyl-laced Xanax. Tosh Ackerman, a 29-year-old native of California, was found dead by his girlfriend. The cause of death was determined to be a quarter of Xanax laced with fentanyl. Ackerman did not know that the Xanax was counterfeit and laced with opiates. Sources, including his mother, report that he only wanted to take Xanax to get some sleep2.
In addition to the nationally-covered death of Tosh Ackerman, a celebrity rapper passed away from eerily similar causes. Friends found Lil Peep dead before a performance in Tucson, Arizona. The doctor who performed the autopsy determined the cause of death to be an overdose of Xanax laced with fentanyl. Before his untimely death, Lil Peep publicly promoted the use of Xanax, showing himself popping pills on social media1.
Presumably, neither Tosh Ackerman nor Lil Peep intended to take Xanax laced with fentanyl. In both cases, the drugs were used without the permission or care of a prescribing physician or pharmacist. A high percentage of the Xanax sold on the street is counterfeit, laced with fentanyl and other stronger substances.
Why Dealers Lace Xanax With Fentanyl
The motive behind lacing Xanax with other substances, including fentanyl, is twofold. First, it makes the drug and the high stronger. This caters to users who are looking for a more intense high. Second, because the drug is stronger, it costs more. Dealers are greedy and opportunistic. Illegal though their enterprise may be, dealers want to increase the bottom line, despite the dangers of counterfeit drugs.
Dealers know how to market to and manipulate their buyers. If they perceive that a buyer wants a more intense high, they use the tactic of playing up the strength of fentanyl. However, if they perceive that the buyer wants pure, unadulterated Xanax, they may lead the buyer to believe the drug is the real thing. In those cases, the buyer is unwittingly using a much stronger substance.
In addition, some dealers do not know the origin of the drugs they are selling. They may believe they are dealing pure Xanax when in fact, it is laced with fentanyl or another substance. Several individuals or “middle-men” are involved in the path a drug takes from manufacturer to user. Buying street drugs leaves safety in the hands of people the buyer does not know, meet, or even see.
Other Common Club Drugs And Who Uses Them
No club drugs are safe from the risk of tampering and lacing. While any use of drugs outside the prescribed dosage to a specific individual is illegal, some use is far more dangerous. In the case of drugs in the club scene, the unfortunate truth is that very young people use these substances. Club drugs are most commonly used by individuals between eighth grade and college3. These substances included GHB, ketamine, MDMA (ecstasy), methamphetamine, LSD, and Rohypnol. The goal of club drugs is most often to enhance partying, drinking, and sexual experiences – no matter the risk.
Users wrongly assume street Xanax is less dangerous than those drugs because it is frequently prescribed for anxiety and depression. A teen who uses Xanax may believe it to be benign because a parent, guardian, or older sibling safely uses Xanax. However, fentanyl is more dangerous than heroin. A young person or club goer may aim to take a mild drug similar to something like LSD but get something much stronger and just as dangerous, if not more so.
Support Groups For Addiction
The best way to reduce the risk of an overdose on Xanax laced with fentanyl is to recognize when someone is struggling with addiction and then get help. If you know someone who may be addicted but is not willing to admit the problem, Family First Intervention may be able to help. Family First Intervention will travel to your location to intervene to address a loved one’s addictive patterns of behavior, create a family-focused treatment plan to discover why the user seeks drugs, and then help to reduce risk with education and support.