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Friday, October 23, 2015

Tainted Batch of Street Xanax Leads to Hospitalizations and Possible Death

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 3:06 PM

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A toxic batch of counterfeit Xanax has hit San Francisco streets.

As the Examiner reports, between Oct. 15 and 17, three people ranging in age from 20 to 40 were hospitalized after ingesting pills marked as Xanax. A fourth person in possession of the pills was found dead, although authorities haven't yet determined a cause of death. The three patients hospitalized suffered weakness, muscle breakdown, and fluid in the lungs.

Per the Examiner, two patients are listed as critically ill.

Health officials say the pills contain fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that is “up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30 to 50 times more than heroin,” according to the DEA. Fentanyl was to blame for a rash of overdoses this summer; in July, 75 overdoses were reversed with narcan, an opiate antidote, according to the Department of Public Health.

“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 Dr. Tomás Aragón, San Francisco’s health officer. “Under no circumstances should you accept medication from someone else, or purchase prescription medicine on the street.”

Health officials urge people who obtain prescription drugs on the street to have ready access to narcan.

As the Chronicle points out, this spate of Xanax hospitalizations comes just a day after seven students at Pinole Valley High School in the East Bay were suspended for taking Xanax; several were hospitalized. And over the past week, three students in Marin County were hospitalized for abusing Coricidin, an over-the-counter cough suppressant referred to as Triple C.

It’s unclear whether the current crop of counterfeit Xanax is connected to the fentanyl overdoses this summer.

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Jeremy Lybarger


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