'Xanax' linked to more than 200 deaths - BBC News (2023)


At least 204 deaths have been linked to the misuse of anxiety drug Xanax in the UK since 2015, figures seen by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme reveal.
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It's a tranquilizer prescription drug, which is used to treat anxiety.

But instead counterfeit versions are being abused across the UK Freddie Homer died a day.

The heart stopped xanax is the brand name for alprazolam one.

If a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines, the NHS does not offer de pills.

They are only available on private prescriptions.

But on safe counterfeits are available on the so called dark web.

Exclusive figures seen by this program show at least 35 deaths involved alprazolam or xanax and England and Wales between 2015 and 2018 in Scotland.

There were 126 fatalities involving the drug between 2015 and 2017.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, a total of 43 deaths willing to xanax son of 113 possible drugs test last year.

25% of those.

We believe involves onyx he's here because he he didn't, listen and I kept begging him to listen.

So next was the problem with him.

He was addicted and I tried.

These pictures don't told a whole story of 20 year, old, Kyle, Ramsey's life, his family say, the computer science student didn't appear to be a regular drug taker, but on be known to them.

He was getting counterfeit xanax online he's, one of 21 people who died in England having used a drug in 2017.

The these xanax are open to every single job everywhere.

They just go on the web and then you're left with the death.

The day before Kyle died.

You had a conversation.


And he made a promise to you didn't.

He, yeah, it was giving up the xanax we good.

And he took some xanax at night and I asked him.

How many did she take? He said, they're, not working don't worry.

Mum I said, how'd, you know, they're not working.

Please I was her mum I ring.

You in an hour, I tried to ring him back over and over.

He didn't answer when xanax enters the blood.

It slows the brain down, counterfeit versions are often laced with other substances, including sometimes fentanyl, a painkiller, 50 times more powerful than heroin.

Just what it was a party thing.

All the love in the world, didn't save it sanity.

I've known Kyle since he's about seven I'm like his big bro ray knows all too well, two side effects of xanax.

He once used a drug with Kyle, you have a few drinks or someone gets offered, you think let's have a pop if I was sold by maybe would have thought twice about it.

But at the time it was just like all right.


Went I went with the flow.

Big mistake, I told you that.

Now, anyway, it's a mistake that a lot of young people, including your friend Kyle may exactly I mean.

When you look back is there anything that you think that could have been done to save Kyle and to maybe stop him using xanax that's that's a hard question because I, don't know, because I didn't know how much he was doing it on how regular.

And after that time, I first done, it I'd, never seen him.

Do it around me since.

And if he was doing it, he didn't make me aware that he was taking it.

Why why Sara says her son's death is a tragic tale.

But an important lesson when it comes to the dangers of the dark web.

And there was no shortage of illicit dealers on the internet.

Capitalizing on demand figures, we've obtained shows for the first time what the authorities are up against in the places here like a Belfast and across the UK when it comes to tackling the misuse of xanax, we've learned that between January 2016 and December 2018 nearly three hundred and forty thousand counterfeit xanax bars as they are known with a street value of over 1 million pounds were seized at ports and airports across the UK.

Well of 113 possible drugs test last year.

25% of those.

We believe involves onyx.

What does that tell us that tell us if we have a big problem with Sonics on Northern Ireland? No one has a better insight into the growing use of illegal prescription drugs than Detective Chief, Inspector, David, Henderson, he's in charge of investigating drug gangs in Belfast.

Well, we had 800 incidence of seizures in the past world monster, dealers, onyx, I'm.

The biggest of those seizures was 30,000 tablets and the one inside.

And if those tablets had ended up on the streets of Belfast, what could he have done? Well, our operational figures on our drugs, dais of the 113 that were recorded in 2018 25% of those.

There was onyx present at the series Pfizer.

The manufacturer of xanax are concerned about the availability of counterfeit versions over 82,000.

Pills, ordered online have been prevented from entering the UK from India alone in the last two years, it's, early afternoon in Belfast and it's, not long before we see how much of a problem.

The xanax has become and like you could just simply be walking in the street and just drop like that scar.

My first, no, no, if you can see, it I was having a pee and I just fell to the toilet system.

I'm busting, my face open.

So like the really dangerous, you know, but it's a dangerous risk Patrick and his friends have been willing to take before turn into xanax and other drugs.

The 24 year old, who's homeless used to work full-time in a mental health hospital.

Can you describe what it feels like when you when you're on XANA again, it's there's, a felony or four, yeah, but Korean comes in the black.

So if you take too much you'll do things that you don't, remember, you know, it can kill you here.

The authorities, you know, people not to do it it's white again, that's a very that's.

A very good question.

Let's, look, very hard.

One, the answer, but again, I'm homeless at the minute, but back to examine X, I wasn't on this, wait honey, the news as exclusive all of it on a side street.

Nearby is another homeless man struggling with his addiction to the Class C drug.

When is the last time you use a nice smile this morning? Yes, how much did you take three bars, three, four bars.

So at the moment, you're high on Zenit, no, not the they haven't.

They take they take a while to dissolve.

And then when the box is resolved, it takes him away leave through your system, and then they hate you.

So right now I'm not high, but I will be probably very soon.

But right now 22 year-old Andy is dependent on xanax despite the risks he says he takes up to 20 pills a day I'm only out of a coma there on Sunday because I was on my support machine.

I, take a little 9 X on Friday.

How am I died? And what do you mean you died? I died, my heart stopped.

And the khatma closer game is here, I know, they looked I couldn't look had to put kids what machine.

And by Sunday at 12 o'clock, I turned off the machine.

But on Sunday morning, at 8 o'clock, I, woke up.

Thankfully, are they were shutting off and you're in a coma because of xanax, the Department of Health has told us they are concerned because almost all xanax tablets available in Northern Ireland are illicit.

They go on to say there can be a real risk of overdose to anyone who takes them.

But the problem with prescription drugs is much bigger than xanax.

These are really powerful medicines.

And these are legitimate benzodiazepines.

These are diazepam.

Then one of the biggest issues we've seen is the legitimate product being diverted onto the criminal market inside the UK's medicines, regulator warehouse are thousands of boxes containing benzodiazepine sold under various brand names, but often obtained illegally without prescription it's really really concerning and it's terrible that sometimes these things and in tragic consequences.

So it's, very important for us to get the message out that don't buy from unregulated sources in Scotland, the police and government tell us they are aware of xanax and are monitoring its misuse.

Meanwhile, NHS Grampian in Aberdeen, recorded 29 deaths in 2017, compared to just 11 the year before.

But back in Belfast, xanax isn't, just being abused on the streets.

First time, a xanax was in prison.

And the be honest.



Remember, what happened I was told just days after that I put to prison officers in the hospital and I ended up went out for two years in prison.

24-Year old, Kyle has now stopped using xanax.

His wake-up call came last year when he overdosed on heroin, you put your life at risk for a tablet that could have potentially, you know, yeah, was it worth it at the time? Yes, but I love, Bogart, no.

But for many it's, a struggle, a habit hard to kick illegally obtained at drugs like xanax are costing lives in this city and across the UK.

Do you want help? Yeah, I've tried to get help I've been I've been in programs that go to generate each quiz this place that helps to people the drug addictions.

And we probably won't say, 25, they don't stop.

You know, I'll be looking in the c-23.


What is the mortality rate for alprazolam? ›

Statistics on UK alprazolam-related fatalities
YearEngland and WalesUnited Kingdom
13 more rows
Aug 1, 2022

Is Xanax considered a high risk medication? ›

Alprazolam has a risk for abuse and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death. Taking this medication with alcohol or other drugs that can cause drowsiness or. To lower your risk, your doctor should have you take the smallest dose of alprazolam that works, and take it for the shortest possible time.

Does Xanax have life threatening side effects? ›

Alprazolam may increase the risk of serious or life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma if used along with certain medications.

Did Pfizer create Xanax? ›

for the Upjohn Company (now part of Pfizer), who applied for the patent in 1969. It was granted in 1976, and alprazolam was first marketed in 1981. The patent expired in 1993, and whilst Pfizer still hold the trade name 'Xanax', a number of generic variants have since come on to the market.

What is the safest amount of Xanax to take? ›

Adults—At first, 0.25 to 0.5 milligram (mg) 3 times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 4 mg per day.

Why is alprazolam recalled? ›

Direct Rx is recalling several lots of alprazolam due to cross-contamination concerns, according to the April 12, 2023, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Enforcement Report.

Who should not be prescribed Xanax? ›

You should not take Xanax if you have shown sensitivity to other benzos such as Valium and Ativan, have narrow-angle glaucoma, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Alert your health care provider if you have liver problems, as there is a risk that Xanax may build up in your system and lead to overdose or heavy sedation.

Why is Xanax not prescribed in UK? ›

So Xanax isn't used in the NHS? No, it's not. It's big in the US but here in the NHS, diazepam (trade name: Valium) is the most widely used short-acting benzodiazepine. That's partly because Xanax is faster acting and ten times stronger than, say, diazepam, and this can cause dangerously rapid sensations of sedation.

What can I use to replace Xanax? ›

Some non-addictive alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety available by prescription include:
  • SSRIs (antidepressants)
  • SNRIs (antidepressants)
  • Beta-Blockers (blood pressure medications)
  • Buspirone (anti-anxiety)
  • Hydroxyzine (brand name Vistaril, a prescription antihistamine).

How long is it safe to take Xanax daily? ›

Are There Any Risks For Taking Alprazolam For Long Periods Of Time? Alprazolam is a safe and effective medication when used as directed. Benzodiazepines may produce emotional and/or physical dependence (addiction) even when used as recommended. Physical dependence may develop after 2 or more weeks of daily use.

What are the worst effects of Xanax? ›

Other changes may be more unusual and extreme, such as confusion, worsening of depression, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there), suicidal thoughts, and unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability.

Is there a recall on Xanax 2023? ›

DATE OF RECALL: April 6, 2023 DRUG NAME: Alprazolam Tablets distributed RECALLING FIRM: Preferred Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Is Xanax legal in Japan? ›

Despite some misconceptions, Xanax is not illegal in Japan. In fact, it is a prescription medication, regulated yet accessible, much like in many other developed nations. Japan exercises stringent control over benzodiazepines, including Xanax, given their potential for misuse.

What was the precursor to Xanax? ›

Chemist Leo Sternbach rose to the occasion when he developed the first benzodiazepine, Librium, in 1955 and started marketing it in 1960. Following some chemical modifications, Valium eventually emerged in 1963. Xanax later resulted from these discoveries and continued research.

What is the peak level of alprazolam? ›

More than 90% of alprazolam is absorbed after an oral dose; the absorption rate is dose independent. After a single oral dose of 0.5 to 3 mg of alprazolam, peak plasma concentrations of 7 to 40 ng/ml are reached at 0.7 to 2.1 hours after administration.

Is alprazolam .25 safe? ›

Alprazolam has a risk for abuse and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death. Taking this medication with alcohol or other drugs that can cause drowsiness or breathing problems (especially opioid medications such as codeine, hydrocodone) may cause very serious side effects, including death.

What is the peak of alprazolam? ›

Alprazolam is rapidly absorbed after oral administration with a peak plasma concentration at 1 to 2 hours. The bioavailability of oral alprazolam averages 80 to 100%.

Is 0.25 mg alprazolam safe? ›

Ques: Is Alprazolam 0.25 MG Tablet safe? Ans: This medication is safe if used at prescribed doses as advised by your medical practitioner.

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