Following a report on the recent rise in hospitalizations of teenagers in the UK due to Xanax associated symptoms; the BBC conducted an investigation into the misuse of this drug and how teenagers are procuring it.
The investigation unearthed some very alarming facts. Xanax can very easily be purchased online on Facebook and Instagram from dealers in UK and outside. This network is commonly known as the dark web. The drug is in widespread circulation, with reports of teenagers as young as thirteen taking it.
Journalist investigating this story reported that they could find Xanax dealers from either picture or comments and could directly message them on how they could buy this Xanax drug. The dealer would then ask the enquirer to move to alternate communication platforms which were “safer” implying more difficult to trace. The web pages even promised overnight delivery on payment.
Xanax is used mostly as a recreational drug mixed with alcohol. But there are also reports that more and more students use it to self-medicate themselves during stressful experiences like exams. Teenagers are also heavily influenced by rap-culture which stresses on the use of drugs as a pick-me-up.
The hazards of taking non-prescription Xanax:
Xanax is a prescription-strength drug usually taken by patients with anxiety issues. It is an addictive fast acting minor tranquilizer which is usually a gateway drug to far more dangerous drugs. Though known to give a feeling of calmness and confidence, taking Xanax without medical supervision can lead to mood swings and acts of aggression or violence. There are also reports of teenagers collapsing due to the influence of this drug. In November of 2017, an US rapper Lil Peep (21years) allegedly died due to an overdose of Xanax mixed with Fentany l, a painkiller. This has added a lot of publicity to this drug making adrenaline chasing teenagers all the more curious about it
What is being done about it?
Selling Xanax on Instagram and Facebook is illegal. Law enforcement groups all around the country are trying their best to shut down these sites for good but it is not that easy.
These online dealers are very careful of getting caught. They regularly change their accounts once they have achieved a certain number of followers so as not to appear too conspicuous. This makes it all too difficult for authorities to lock down.
Additionally these drugs attained online have high chances of being fake or counterfeit. These drugs can contain dangerous constituents and other chemicals which can cause mortal harm to the individual’s health.
Labor Member of Parliament,Bambos Charalambousas well as other government officials have gone on record to urge public awareness campaigns on the effects of using Xanax illegally. The stress should be on the harmful long term effects, the use of Xanax can have on the health and life of these teenagers.
Other groups are urging authorities to deal with the root of the much wider issue which is the increased anxiety and stress faced by adolescents and teenagers. Is the current school system putting unusual amounts of stress on them? Should schools employ more counselors or introduce more student support programs to help teenagers cope with everyday stress? These are some of the questions which need to be answered so that less and less teenagers feel the need to turn to Xanax.