Xanax Lookalike Pill Containing a Deadly Drug Has Killed 9 in FL

It Looks Like Xanax, But it Definitely Isn’t!

A TV Station, WFLA, is reporting that a “new super drug” is hitting the streets in Florida and is responsible for 9 death so far.

The lethal contents of this small, white pill are cleverly packaged. The pill looks just like a Xanax. But, looks can be deceiving.  And, as it turns out, deadly. The fake Xanax is mixed with a powerful pain medication called Fentanyl, which is a highly addictive, strong pain medication commonly prescribed to cancer patients. The combination of Xanax and Fentanyl is so potent that it’s killing people within minutes.

This really isn’t new. In fact, I brought this up in blog post some time ago. In that blog post, I included a video that shows how dealers are making their own fentanyl pills using a pill press that you can buy on Amazon.com.

Why These Xanax Pills are So Deadly

The fentanyl that these pills contain are not only exponentially more powerful than heroin, but it is unknown what type of fentayl it is. If it is carfentanil, one pill has the potential of killing anyone very quickly. Additionally, people thinking they are purchasing Xanax, a CNS Depressant, are actually taking fentanyl, a deadly and powerful Opiate. When the dealers are cutting the fentanyl, they are usually doing it in an unsanitary place and don’t use proper measuring equipment when mixing the ingredients.

It’s Dangerous for Police Officers Too

The threat is not confined to just users, it expands to police officers too. Fentanyl is a drug that can be absorbed transdermally, meaning that it can be absorbed through your skin. In a recent webinar I hosted about fentanyl and officer safety, I brought up the transdermal threat and the safety precautions needed by police if they are handling fentanyl.

An officer handling this evidence might assume it is fentanyl and might handle it without proper protective equipment. As a reminder, you shouldn’t be handling any drugs without nitrile gloves. You should also be wearing an N95 mask as well as eye protection when practical.

But, what if the officer had field tested the “xanax” as required by policy or by the DA to charge your case? If some of that fentanyl had gone airborne, it could cause issues for the officer (which is why I recommend wearing an N95 mask when handling drug evidence). This is another reason why I advocate that officers stop field testing drugs. You never know what the drug is that you are testing (which is why you are testing it in the first place).


Author: Keith Graves
Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary's College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.

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