Reports indicate that fentanyl is being sold disguised as other drugs and this has resulted in a string of overdose cases in the U.S. Authorities have also observed that prescription drugs as well as opiates provided by illegal sources are all laced with fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Reports also point out that fentanyl nasal sprays, U-47700 (a research opiate) and geltabs are available on the darknet market, Alpha Bay Market, in Pez candies form. However, someone called Trappy_Pandora, who manages the public relations for the Alpha Bay Market, said that thedarknet market does not entertain vendors who want to sell Xanax cut with fentanyl.
In November last year, a man who sold selling Xanax with traces of fentanyl was arrested in California after a couple of his clients died due to overdose. Last month, a woman in Maryland passed out after she took what she believed was Xanax that she had purchased from illegal sources. In April, Florida authorities identified shipments of fake Xanax pills that contained fentanyl. In fact, authorities have seized shipments containing professional-grade fentanyl pills across America. Cases of overdosing were reported from California after users took fentanyl believing it to be Norco, which is a less powerful prescription pain medication.
Though fentanyl is often sold, disguising it as something else for facilitating distribution, it is not clear as to why drug suppliers tend to mix fentanyl with Xanax, especially when the ingredients required to make Xanax are cheaper compared to those required for making fentanyl. According to Melvin Patterson, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is a marketing tactic employed by sellers to quickly get new customers.
Trappy_Pandora of Alpha Bay Market reportedly wrote on a thread on Reddit that people die because of vendors passing fentanyl as something else other than fentanyl. He believes that fentanyl got into Xanax supplies either because of poor management of drug stashes or by accident. He added that allowing all of the customers is not an economically viable proposition. According to him, Alpha Bay Market does not offer any services to those who are selling Xanax that has fentanyl.
The drug prevention supervisor, Linda Auerback, is doubtful if counterfeit Xanax is an accident. According to her, some people participating in her outreach programs refer to it as the “killer pill.” They seek out these pills on purpose. On the other hand, some others get to use the pills purely by mistake.
Frequently, doctors prescribe Xanax with opiates to patients who struggle with pain and experience difficulty in sleeping. It is a known fact that recreational users purposely mix these two substances in order to experience a twist to the high they usually experience. Experts say that the mixture accelerates respiratory depression and can be deadly. Therefore, they are advocating establishment of drug checking facilities for opioid and pill suppliers and users, similar to those set up in the 1990s for verifying MDMA’s composition.
According to epidemiologist Michael Gilbert who specializes in harm reduction, the “death pill” is not the only product available on the market that confuses people. Additionally, he noted that the way in which people take opiates is also quickly changing.