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Counterfeit Xanax: 5 Fast Facts

Counterfeit Xanax pills attracted national attention when CBS News reported an alarming incident that took place in California in 2015, which cost one person their life and landed another eight in the hospital. What did all these individuals have in common? They all took what they thought was Xanax. Whoever produced these fake Xanax pills cut them with fentanyl, a potent opioid that’s easy to obtain and even easier to overdose on. It’s important to be informed about the dangers of fake Xanax.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 23 2023 | Updated Mar 01 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

Counterfeit Xanax Pills May Be Deadly. Learn More.


1. When You Buy Counterfeit Xanax Pills, You Have No Assurances of Quality

Xanax is the trade name for a substance called alprazolam. Alprazolam is a short-acting benzodiazepine. Physicians prescribe Xanax primarily to treat anxiety and panic disorder. Xanax is a controlled substance with the potential to cause drug dependence, so to get it at the pharmacy you need a valid prescription.

When someone doesn’t have a prescription or is abusing the drug and needs more than the amount their doctor prescribed, they often turn to street dealers. When you get your medication at the pharmacy, you know exactly where it came from and what’s in it. Buying off the street, on the other hand, means you have no guarantee about what exactly it is you’re buying or the chemical purity of the substance.

  1. It’s Possible to Manufacture Counterfeit Xanax That’s Visually Identical to Real Xanax

Some people are convinced that if they take every precaution when buying Xanax off the street, they’re safe. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Street manufacturers can and do produce pills that they can easily pass off as real Xanax. The pills that popped up in California are a testament to that. Inspecting them with the naked eye would have you convinced they were real.

  1. Counterfeit Xanax Pills Often Contain Dubious and Sometimes Dangerous Chemical Composition

People who manufacture drugs illegally often want to stretch their supply as far as it can go. Instead of selling a pharmacy-grade product, they may cut the drug with harmful substances. What that means is, they will dilute the drug by using a cutting agent. Why do street manufacturers do this? Because by diluting their product, they have more quantities to sell and can turn a better profit.

When you buy counterfeit Xanax, you don’t know what it was cut with. If you don’t know what it is you’re using, you have no way of knowing what the fake Xanax effects on your body will be.

  1. Fake Xanax Is Frequently Laced with Fentanyl

The case in California featured counterfeit Xanax cut with fentanyl. More and more, street manufacturers are using fentanyl to cut a broad range of drugs, not just Xanax. That’s because fentanyl is easy to obtain and cheap. Drugs cut with fentanyl aren’t dangerous only because their purity is compromised. Using fentanyl compounds the problem because it’s up to 100 times more potent than morphine and, thus, more lethal. It takes a tiny dose of approximately 3 milligrams to overdose on fentanyl, compared to the 30 milligrams it takes, on average, to overdose on heroin.

  1. The Number of Benzodiazepine Overdose Deaths Is Increasing

Statistics published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that in 2015, 9,000 people overdosed on benzodiazepines. Coupled with the use of fentanyl as a cutting agent becoming more and more common, that’s an alarming reality. Because street pills might contain any number of unknown substances, it’s hard to predict fake Xanax effects. If any adverse effects happen, doctors might not have enough time to reverse them. You have a higher risk of facing a fatal overdose.


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