Federal agents have seen a surge in the use of prescription medication Xanax by students across North Texas.
“The pills are here, and they’re increasing," said Calvin Bond, the assistant special agent in charge at the Dallas Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Four students at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas were rushed to the hospital after using Xanax this month.
The use of Xanax is not isolated to Thomas Jefferson High School.
“This is happening in all the areas, all the suburbs in this area," Bond said. “It’s not confined to Dallas, or Fort Worth or Irving. It's everywhere.”
Xanax, and the drug’s generic equivalents, are most often prescribed for anxiety.
“Taken properly, like a lot of these drugs, it's fine, but it doesn’t mix well," said Wayne McMeans of Dougherty’s Pharmacy.
They’re called “bars” for their unique shape, and when taken in combination with other pills, the drug can have deadly consequences.
“A heroin like effect; it can be overdosed. Not only life controlling, but possibly lethal," McMeans said.
Xanax can often lead to less expensive, more dangerous heroin abuse, Drug Enforcement Administration agents said.
DEA agents continue to warn schools about the problem as they work to arrest dealers with the prescription drug.
But users can often find Xanax on their own.
“Sometimes they’re stealing from their parents, sometimes they’re given it at a party, sometimes they’re given it on the school campus," Bond said. “If they like the feeling, then they’re going to pursue it."
Pharmacies in Texas are now sharing information about people looking for Xanax and other prescription drugs. They hope the more pharmacies aware of the Xanax abuse, the less likely users will go from one pharmacy to another trying to get more than they should.