In 2016, over 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose - and that figure only continues to rise.
Fentanyl is a major factor in the high number of overdoses in recent years. What was once only a concern for users of hard drugs like heroin, fentanyl has now made its way into other illicit drugs.
Today, authorities are warning people about a deadly new super pill that's laced with fentanyl and capable of killing within minutes. Knowing what it is, why it's dangerous, and how to prevent an overdose is the first defense against this lethal super pill.
Keep reading to learn more about protecting you and those you love.
What Is the Super Pill?
Buying Xanax and other prescription drugs illegally is never a good idea. But now, people looking to buy Xanax on the street could unknowingly be purchasing a super pill that's lethal in even the smallest doses.
The super pill combines Xanax with fentanyl. While Xanax is a prescription drug used to relieve anxiety and isn't lethal on its own, it's being combined with the severe pain medication that's responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans.
The super pill looks exactly like Xanax but with fatal consequences. The origin of this small white pill is unknown. Authorities don't know who is making it or where it's coming from.
Why Is the Super Pill Dangerous?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate analgesic. It's 40-50 times more powerful than heroin and 80-100 times more powerful than morphine. Typically prescribed to cancer patients, to manage severe pain, or as a post-surgery treatment, it's a schedule II drug that's become available for purchase on the street.
Fentanyl is fast-acting and the effects are even more pronounced on people that have never used it before. Meaning that, if you have no tolerance to opioids, even a very small dose of fentanyl can kill within minutes of ingestion. In fact, authorities believe the super pill is responsible for the deaths of 9 people in Florida since they became aware of it.
Is There Any Way to Prevent an Overdose?
Typically used to reverse an overdose in heroin users, Narcan can be used to treat a super pill overdose. But remember that the super pill contains fentanyl - which is far stronger than heroin. As a result, reversing a super pill overdose requires more Narcan than a regular heroin overdose.
What's more, many of the samples analyzed by authorities in Florida contain enough fentanyl to kill a person in as little as one pill. So the best way to avoid an overdose is to avoid the super pill altogether.
People who consume prescription medications like Xanax should be sure to obtain those medications legally. And even those seeking medications like Oxycodone and Percocet should be careful.
For parents, talking to your children and teens about drug use is vitally important. Make them aware of the dangerous trends and, if you believe your child may be struggling with drugs and addiction, learn more here.
Taking Care of Your Health the Right Way
The super pill is a particular risk for young adults and people who abuse prescription medications like Xanax. There's no definitive way to tell it apart from less lethal drugs. That means the best way to avoid it is to obtain prescription medications legally.
And if you struggle with anxiety, depression, or pain, you might want to consider new ways to cope with your condition. Learn more on our lifestyle blog.