Counterfeit Xanax pills containing dangerous doses of opiates are being sold on the streets, according to Illinois State Police.
Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety, is a commonly abused prescription medication and an easy target for counterfeiting, says Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing. The fake Xanax found in Illinois contains the active ingredient fentanyl, an opiate stronger than morphine.
“We want the public to be aware. We want everyone to know the current dangers of this drug trend,” Rohlfing told Fox 2.
The problem isn’t limited to just Illinois. In October, three people in San Francisco were hospitalized after ingesting fake Xanax pills, according to the SF Health Network. They suffered sedation, weakness, muscle breakdown, and fluid in the lungs, symptoms of opioid overdose.
Fentanyl was found in the fake Xanax pills in San Francisco. The synthetic opiate is dangerous even in small doses, and is also found in fake heroin.
“We know there is a dangerous counterfeit drug being sold on the street as ‘Xanax,’ and people should be very careful and avoid the risk of overdose and death,” said Tomas J. Aragon, a San Franciso Health Officer.