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The Dangers of Fake Xanax: Fentanyl

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

Fake Xanax bars are produced in home labs with substitute ingredients that may include: chalk, baking powder, hydrochloric acid, battery acid, ammonia, rat poison, and fentanyl.

The Dangers of Fentanyl

While many of these ingredients are dangerous to consume, fentanyl is especially life-threatening, and even small doses can quickly prove fatal.

What is Xanax?

Many people in the US have valid prescriptions for Xanax, and in 2010 it was the 12th most commonly prescribed medication in the US. The main active ingredient in Xanax is alprazolam, which is a short-acting benzodiazepine anxiolytic, which basically means it’s a minor tranquilizer. People receive prescriptions for Xanax to treat anxiety and panic disorders, but also generalized anxiety disorders or social anxiety disorders.

It is so successful at fighting anxiety due to the fact that it binds to specific GABA receptors which effect the central nervous center. Xanax has sedative, hypnotic and anxiolytic properties, also functioning as a muscle relaxant and antidepressant.

Why do people use fake Xanax?

Fake Xanax is a concern for those using Xanax for non-medical purposes. Many people begin their journey legally with a valid prescription for various forms of anxiety. The problem is that Xanax is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Tolerance to alprazolam’s (the main active ingredient in Xanax) sedative and hypnotizing effects can build up in as short a time as a couple of days. This means that with continued use, it takes higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects. People taking Xanax can very easily develop a dependence on the drug, especially a psychological one. It may seem easier to resort to medication rather than the long-term therapy anxiety treatment requires. All of this may cause people to search out alternative ways to gain access to Xanax once their prescription runs out. One option is to buy pills on the street illegally.

How can you tell if Xanax bars are fake?

It is very difficult to tell many fake Xanax bars apart from real Xanax. They are the same color, shape, size, and have the same logo. Recently, they have even begun to taste the same.

Outside of lab testing, the only way to tell fake and real Xanax apart is by ingestion, which can prove fatal if the wrong ingredients are present. For this reason, consuming Xanax bars bought on the street is extremely dangerous.

What Does It Look Like?

The Dangers of Fentanyl

Fake Xanax bars have been haunting the streets of the U.S. for decades now, and are responsible for nine recent deaths in the state of Florida. A fake Xanax bar looks practically the same as a genuine one at first glance.

The color of the pill is the same, and it even has the XANAX mark stamped on it. Only upon ingestion can users realize that something is off.

The tastes of the fake bars are not bitter like the taste of the original pill; but lately, dealers have begun to mimic the strong, bitter taste of real Xanax.

What Is Fake Xanax Made Of?

Fake Xanax bars are produced in illegal labs, where the original ingredients are replaced by chalk, baking powder, hydrochloric acid, battery acid, and fentanyl. All of these components are harmful and can cause long-term damage to the human body, but one component is particularly dangerous: fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid most commonly used to treat terminally ill cancer patients. This painkiller is purportedly 100 times stronger than morphine, and acts rapidly and has a very short half-life. It only has a slightly different chemical structure from heroin. Fentanyl was originally created as a potent painkiller and is still used today to help with post-surgery pain or to combat chronic pain for those who have developed a tolerance to other opioid painkillers. The problem with fentanyl is it is incomparably powerful to other medication. Its man-made strength is not something to mess around with. Even a small amount can cause an overdose, when not used with medical supervision. A dose of fentanyl that equals three grains of sand can be enough to kill someone.

Cutting Drugs with Fentanyl

Despite the incredible risk, fentanyl has become an incredibly popular addition to various street drugs. Though it should be no surprise that manufacturers of fake drugs use a variety of substances to cut the real drug with, adding fentanyl is a deadly trend sweeping the streets. Fentanyl is cheap and easily attained making it the perfect tool for drug dealers to use to raise potency and lower prices for themselves. It’s important to note that this danger is not limited to Xanax, it is commonly done with other drugs, most commonly heroin, because the results are so similar.

Fake Xanax bars that contain these ingredients, and especially fentanyl, are extraordinarily dangerous.

The Effect

The effects of fentanyl include:

  • Troubled breathing
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Vision problems
  • Seizures
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Cerebral edema
  • Black stool
  • Chest pain
  • Mood changes
  • Confusion

Furthermore, mental deterioration and psychiatric problems are also very common in fentanyl addicts. After ingestion, this narcotic slowly shuts down the organism, which makes abuse and overdoses often fatal.

Drug Identification Test Kits

Due to the growing number of medication being bought on the street as well as more and more drugs being cut with dangerous substances, a need was created for a reliable way to know what you are actually taking. In a hope to cut down on overdoses caused by impure drugs, drug purity test kits were created. There are two different options available online; a drug purity test kit or a drug identification test kit. The first rates the purity of the drug you have obtained on a scale from one to five, off of which you can learn how probable it is that what you are about to take is pure. The second type of kit can detect whether a certain type of substance is present in the drug you are going to take. These kits are relatively new and therefore are not available for every type of drug available. At the moment they focus on recreational drugs such as heroin, cocaine and MDMA. There is no test to check the purity of Xanax but there is a drug identification kit for fentanyl. These kits can be used on powders, liquids, tablets or surface residue and additionally, fentanyl analogs can be detected as well.

This is in no way a foolproof method because even though the kit-makers claim to have a 98% degree of accuracy, the detection limit of this test is 200 ng (200 billionths of a gram). Since such a tiny amount of fentanyl can be deadly, the best way to stay safe is to just not risk it.


Every day there are more and more illegal homemade drugs on the streets. In the majority of cases, these fake drugs consist of extremely harmful substances like ammonia, rat poison, and, most dangerously, fentanyl.

Being able to distinguish an FDA-approved drug from a bogus one is relatively difficult, and in some cases impossible until ingested. Consumers are strongly advised to stay clear of any medication that is sold in the streets.

Help for Xanax Addiction

If you or anyone you know is thinking of purchasing Xanax on the streets, you must weigh the risks. The difference is undetectable until it’s too late. If you are still tempted, it may be time to consider whether or not you’re suffering from a Xanax addiction. This is an issue that may affect all aspects of your life, not limiting itself to physical symptoms but also psychological ones. If you feel like your dependence on Xanax is driving you to abuse and purchase it illegally, it may be time to get help. Reaching out could save your life.

The first step is admitting you need help. There are various Xanax treatment centers or specialized therapists that can help you recover.

The consumption of fake drugs can mean the difference between life and death, so think twice before your next illicit purchase.

Published on: January 23rd, 2024

Updated on: January 30th, 2024


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