It has recently come to light that the UK has been flooded with fake Xanax made from high strength Alazopram powder, imported from Japan. This follows the UK’s biggest ever darknet drug seizure by Britain’s police.
The distribution of counterfeit Xanax within the UK was dominated by one particular manufacturer in 2016; who dyed the homemade pressed pills blood red as their trademark.
This particular form of fake Xanax contained 5mg of Alazopram per tablet; making it the strongest single benzodiazepine available on the international illicit market.
Xanax is generally not prescribed in the UK but is very popular in America and is prescribed as a psychiatric anti-anxiety drug. In the UK it can only be obtained on private prescription.
Britain’s teenagers have until recently been able to obtain it from the black market with relative ease. Through a computer screen, there is no way of proving or telling your age, and so counterfeit prescription drugs (also known as Rx drugs) can easily be obtained without any legal implications for the purchaser.
In June 2017, the police force made their first targeted arrest, seizing more than 250,000 counterfeit Xanax pills in the process. Further arrests followed in October 2017 for illicit drug production offences. However, as yet no further action has been taken with regards to prosecution.
The distributor of Red Xanax sold their counterfeit prescription medication through various online websites. This means that they could be ordered for personal consumption or ordered in bulk with the intent to supply.
High Risk of Seizures During Withdrawal from Counterfeit Prescription Drugs
As a result of Red Xanax being seized and subsequently withdrawn from the darknet (albeit probably only temporarily), many teenagers that had become hooked on the drug were left to face life-threatening withdrawals.
Those that were sensible approached their family, doctor or a private rehab clinic for help. Those that were too ashamed to admit they had been abusing illegal drugs experienced horrendous withdrawals, many resulting in hospital admissions. Some sadly will have progressed on to illegal Class A drugs in order to alleviate the withdrawals.
It has been proven that as many as 80 percent of all Heroin users started out with an addiction or abuse problems with opioid painkillers.
What Are Fake Prescription Drugs?
Fake prescription medications are illicitly manufactured to mimic the effects of certain prescription drugs, most commonly benzodiazepines and opioids. They are most commonly used for abuse purposes and are very dangerous as they are not regulated by any governing body to ensure that they are safe for human consumption.
The individuals who manufacture these pills, do so for only one reason and it is not to help the customers that buy them. They make and sell them purely for monetary gain.
There are literally millions of pounds to be made through selling drugs in bulk this way. The darknet is a constant threat to those that are likely to seek and abuse prescription drugs; there is always another manufacturer, always another pill and always another website.
The Dangers of Counterfeit Medications
Counterfeit medications kill; they are unregulated, unprescribed and unfit for human consumption. Many that take them, mix them with alcohol or other depressant drugs, making a lethal concoction that can cause overdose and death.
Withdrawal from counterfeit drugs tends to be more dangerous and more unpredictable than genuine prescribed medication. These are notoriously difficult to stop and cause dependence and benzodiazepine addiction very quickly. A GP may well feel out of their depth in trying to help someone with an addiction to a counterfeit version of one of these drugs.
Withdrawal-related seizures can be a life-threatening symptom. When you are trying to detox an individual from a counterfeit drug, which is usually much stronger than the prescribed versions, their withdrawal can be impossible to manage safely in the community.
Why Fake Xanax Appeals To Teenagers
There are many reasons why teenagers, in particular, are vulnerable to buying counterfeit prescription drugs such as the Red Xanax.
- They don’t see counterfeit drugs as harmful and don’t differentiate between counterfeit prescription drugs and Class A illicit drugs. In reality, the two are just as dangerous and just as addictive
- They do not realise their potency or how dangerous they are
- They are easy to obtain
- They are an easy way to get high and change the way that they feel
- Many teenagers will use prescription drugs to deal with exam stress and fatigue
- They bow to peer pressure to try something new
If you have concerns that your child may be abusing counterfeit or prescription drugs, it is important to get them help as quickly as possible. It may be beneficial to read our blog on Spotting the Signs of Teenage Drug Abuse
PCP addiction treatment rehabs are able to facilitate medical drug detoxification and rehabilitation for anyone that is 18 or over. Please call us directly if you want to find out more and how we can help.