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How to know what you are taking?

By UWEaccomm 15 Feb 2018

How to know what you are taking?

In a previous Browzer article, Xanax was discussed along with its effects and what it means for those in UWE Accommodation. Now, it is becoming increasingly common in the UK, it is important to look at the negative impact Xanax has on student health and provide photos on the fake Xanax hitting the UK.

One student explained that he struggled to sleep after a night out and had heard from friends that Xanax would help. He spoke to a friend, they went on social media and found someone who could meet him that day with Xanax in the city centre. According to the press, students are able to find Xanax through social media and it can be picked up, delivered or posted in 24 hours[1].

This student felt that Xanax was helping him sleep, but he was scared to take it because it was affecting his memory, his friendships and his life.

“You don’t remember anything […] you miss the day and wake up at 4pm. Your flatmates talk to you about being out the night before and you have no idea, like, was I there? I can’t remember. It’s scary”[2].

Not remembering the night before is bad enough, what about the week before? Or last month? Or developing long-term memory problems because of Xanax?[3]

"It worked for me. I was pretending I was using them recreationally, when really I was reliant on them just to cope"[4].

Xanax is one of the most highly addictive prescription drugs available, and can create dependency in a matter of weeks. Daily use of the drug results in dependency in 2 out of 5 users[5]. Hypothetically, if that statistic was applied to all students living on Frenchay Campus that would be 1446 people!

“Xanax is like heroin but without the reputation”[6].

Similar to heroin, the use of Xanax is characterised by physical and psychological dependency, which means it requires medical supervision to ensure that detox is controlled and more importantly, safe. If you attempt to detox yourself, it has to be a slow process, too quickly can lead to psychosis, seizures, brain damage and potentially death. You may want to make contact with Frank, Bristol and District Tranquiliser Project and Drug Rehab Bristol.

So, can you spot a fake?

The two examples (at the top of the screen) look very similar. Both are branded as Xanax. The one to the left is real pharmaceutical Xanax, and the one on the right is a home-pressed fake ‘Xanax’. The number is meant to represent the dosage of the active ingredient (alprazolam) in Xanax. Unfortunately, the fake pressed tablets can be made from other substances, and have already been linked to countless deaths across the UK.

The fake Xanax tablets were found to be laced with Fentanyl[7], which is described as “heroin’s synthetic cousin”[8]. It is an opioid used as an anaesthetic for surgical procedures or as a strong pain medication. It is a rapid onset drug, so if you accidentally take Fentanyl the effects will be quick and are likely to be fatal.

What does a fatal dose of Fentanyl look like, and how does it compare to heroin?

As pictured above, the dosage of heroin is equivalent to 30 milligrams a lethal dose. Comparative to Fentanyl, which requires only a 3 milligram dose to kill an average adult male[9]. There has been an increase in Fentanyl related deaths in the UK from 2016[10], and with the rising use of Xanax, this number is likely to continue to rise.

Xanax may have the reputation as a sleeping aid after a heavy night, but it is as addictive as heroin, and it can be as lethal as Fentanyl.



[2] Taken from a discussion with a student (January 2018)




[6] Taken from a discussion with a student (January 2018)





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