In recent years, it has become increasingly common for drug traffickers to make counterfeit pills in order to appeal to people who use prescription drugs for recreational or other purposes.
They also often cut fentanyl into fake pills in order to increase these drugs’ effects, putting people who use them at risk of overdose death from the powerful synthetic opioid.
How To Tell The Difference Between Real And Fake Xanax
Unfortunately, it is just about impossible to tell the difference between real Xanax and fake Xanax, or fentanyl-laced Xanax, by sight alone.
Drug traffickers and other illegal drug manufacturers make fake Xanax pills with pill presses that mimic the real thing to the letter. Occasionally colors may be off, but that isn’t always the case.
Xanax Colors, Shapes, and Manufacturers
There is one pill that is more easily recognizable as counterfeit: the Red Devil Xanax bar. It looks like a regular Xanax bar but is red, with “R666” imprinted on it.
Otherwise, real and fake Xanax can look identical to each other. FDA-approved Xanax typically appears in triangular pill shapes, round pill shapes, oval shapes, and Xanax bar tablets.
It also comes in a wide variety of pill colors, including white, off-white, yellow, orange, pink, blue, peach, purple, and green.
Most of the doses come in 0.25 milligram (mg) to 2 mg amounts, with the highest being a 3 mg extended-release format.
Though Pfizer holds the brand name for Xanax, the generic form of the drug, alprazolam, is manufactured by Sandoz, Inc., Mylan, DAVA, Roxane, Actavis, and other manufacturers.
Knowing what real Xanax looks like, and who it’s made by, may be able to help you identify counterfeit Xanax pills in some cases, but again, fake pills are often indistinguishable from real ones.
Testing For Fentanyl
One way to find out if a drug contains fentanyl is to use a fentanyl test strip. Possession of drug test strips used to be illegal, but the federal government and many state governments are legalizing test strips.
In fact, federal funding can now pay for fentanyl test strips, which may be available at community-based mental health organizations as well as addiction treatment centers.
Buying Only From Licensed Pharmacies
Another way to ensure that your Xanax prescription doesn’t contain fentanyl, or fake prescription pills, is to only get it from a licensed pharmacy.
Earlier this year, news stories sprang up regarding counterfeit medications sold in Mexican pharmacies that were found to contain fentanyl and other illicit drugs.
There are also stories of young people in the United States dying because they were self-medicating or experimenting with what they thought were pills such as Adderall, oxycodone, Xanax, and other prescription medications.
Some of these fentanyl-laced counterfeit medications were obtained via social media. In 2021, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warned the public about prescription sales via social media.
The agency stated that via various social media outlets, teens were the audience for drug dealers looking to sell counterfeit Xanax and other knock-off pills.
The internet has become the largest drug market, and young people, believing that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs, may purchase prescriptions this way.
Signs Of Fentanyl Overdose
If you are concerned that a loved one has taken a counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl, call 911 immediately.
Signs of an opioid overdose include:
- tiny, constricted pupils
- losing consciousness, which may look like falling asleep
- shallow, slow breathing (or no breathing)
- choking or gurgling sounds
- skin discoloration, especially in the lips and under the nails
- limp limbs
- cold body
Treatment for Xanax addiction can help prevent a drug overdose in a loved one who is misusing Xanax.
Find Help For Addiction Today
If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, help is available. Call DetoxRehabs.net today for help getting started on the path to recovery.Article Sources
- ARK Behavioral Health — A Short History Of Benzodiazepine Abuse & Dependence
- The City of Portland Oregon Police Bureau — Can you spot the fake Xanax?
- Drugs.com — Generic Xanax Availability
- Drugs.com — Xanax
- UCLA Health — Counterfeit pills sold in Mexican pharmacies found to contain fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — DEA Washington Warns of Deadly Counterfeit Drugs on Social Media