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Health Officials Worry about Rise in Overdose Deaths from Fake Xanax Laced with Fentanyl

With more and more people dying as a result of prescription drug overdoses, law enforcement officials and medical experts now have to worry about a new threat: fake Xanax pills. In recent months, emergency rooms across the United States, including Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania, have started to see an increasing number of patients who have overdosed on counterfeit Xanax, according to a recent report published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the American Medical Association’s peer-reviewed journal of internal medicine.

At this point, the health risks of prescription drug abuse and addiction are obvious to most people, with reports of prescription opioid OD deaths seemingly coming every day. One particularly high-profile prescription drug death that garnered national news coverage was the fatal overdose of legendary musician Prince in Minnesota earlier this year.

The problem, said health officials, is that the fake Xanax tablets are often cut with fentanyl, an extremely powerful opiate. When the drug user takes the Xanax, they don’t realize that they are actually ingesting a far more dangerous drug that can result in a fatal overdose. In fact, it was a fentanyl overdose that reportedly killed Prince. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. When a person uses fentanyl, they can potentially suffer a heart attack and even die.

Moreover, the drug user may not be able to recognize that the counterfeit Xanax is different from standard prescription Xanax because the pills typically have the same pharmaceutical markings. Dr. Ann Arens, an ER physician in Minneapolis, Minnesota, said that the pills “look exactly the same,” meaning that “the users that were exposed to these tablets had no idea it was anything other than what they thought they were buying.”

For further information, see the CBSNews.com article, “Fake Xanax Can Be a Killer.”


If you or a loved one was arrested for illegal possession of prescription drugs, heroin possession, marijuana possession, or any other drug offense in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you should talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Garber Law will help you fight your charges and avoid conviction. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation about your case.

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