Xanax bars are long, white, and rectangular tablets etched with the brand name and the number “2” to indicate the medication dosage (2mg). They are scored three times for division into 0.5mg if desired. Fake Xanax bars can look nearly identical, so how one you tell the difference? The unfortunate truth is that most people cannot visually distinguish between real vs. fake Xanax bars.
In fact, the most significant difference between real and fake Xanax bars is the side effects and ingredients. This is because phony Xanax often contains other substances, such as an illicit version of fentanyl. At first glance, fentanyl-laced Xanax bars often don’t look, smell, or taste any different than an authentic Xanax pill. As a result, individuals who purchase these counterfeit pressed Xanax bars are unaware of what they are actually getting and ingesting, and therein lies the greatest risk to one’s health and life.
What Is Xanax?
An estimated 20% of all adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent worries, panic attacks, phobias, and other neurotic symptoms. Naturally, people who continually struggle with anxiety or other mental health conditions will be seeking ways to help them get through the day—this is when anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax may be beneficial.
Xanax belongs to a group of prescription medications called benzodiazepines (benzos). Benzos increase the brain’s availability of GABA—a neurochemical that decreases activity in the central nervous system—to help a person feel more relaxed and prepared to handle stressful situations. Mental health providers often prescribe Xanax to help those who experience severe anxiety and find it difficult to function daily.
Although Xanax can be beneficial to individuals seeking relief from anxiety symptoms, it is also a risky medication in some instances. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires Xanax and other benzodiazepines to issue a black box warning on their package to indicate how this category of drugs has a relatively high potential for addiction. Xanax should only be taken under the supervision of a licensed medical provider.
If you are taking prescription Xanax, you should be aware of the common symptoms of addiction, including the following:
- Taking more than directed by a doctor
- Visiting several doctors or pharmacies to obtain more of the medication
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms of discontinuation
- Resorting to Xanax when feeling any hint of mental distress
- Seeking out illicitly obtained or fake Xanax when a prescription cannot be obtained
Is Fake Xanax Dangerous?
Fake Xanax is hazardous for many reasons. First, in its genuine, legal form, it is meant to be combined with traditional therapies, such as counseling or individual therapy, to treat the primary cause of the symptoms. When used without other professional mental health support, the risk for physiology and emotional dependence significantly increases.
Secondly, real Xanax has a specific dosage that is intended to relieve unwanted mental health symptoms. Conversely, it’s nearly impossible to know how much counterfeit Xanax should be used. Too much of the dosage could actually exacerbate mental health conditions and result in severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if one quits use abruptly.
Finally, fake Xanax is commonly laced with substances that are even more addictive and can be lethal. In fact, law enforcement agencies have encountered many more instances of individuals who become severely ill or even lose their lives because the fake Xanax they obtained was laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is relatively easy and inexpensive to make, which is why it is often the substance of choice to combine with fake Xanax and other street drugs such as heroin and cocaine. What’s important to know is that many individuals who buy counterfeit Xanax cannot even tell that it is counterfeit—and not knowing how to spot fake Xanax bars can come with severe consequences.
How to Determine if a Xanax Bar Is Fake
There are fake Xanax bars in various colors and shapes depending on the batch that illicit labs have produced. People generally try to distinguish between real vs. phony Xanax by examining the letters pressed into the pill. Counterfeit Xanax may have letter identifiers pressed into the tablet that looks almost identical to the real thing but might be subtly off.
Unfortunately, identifying fake Xanax bars or any other mislabeled drug may be a challenging for the human eye. This is especially true when an individual is struggling with addiction. Seeking out Xanax through illicit means or misusing legally prescribed medications can put one’s life at risk.
Furthermore, developing an addiction to Xanax defeats the purpose as to why Xanax is meant to be used in the first place – to relieve anxiety and help individuals temporarily work through mental health issues while undergoing traditional treatment.
If you are concerned that a Xanax bar you are taking is not authentic, you should reach out to a health provider, addiction treatment center, or addiction specialist immediately to receive assistance on overcoming addiction. Unfortunately, quitting Xanax without medical supervision will not solve the problem of encountering fake Xanax bars or engaging in drug abuse.
Moreover, abruptly stopping all use of Xanax “cold turkey,” especially if you have become dependent on Xanax, can lead to seizures and death. This is why it is so critical that individuals get the professional health support they need to combat their Xanax addiction.
Recovery from Addiction to Fake Xanax
If you are unsure about the healthiness of your relationship with Xanax and whether or not you have been using real or fake Xanax bars, it is probably time to seek professional addiction treatment. At Just Believe Recovery, recovery is just around the corner. We work to address all concerns regarding addiction, co-occurring disorders, and getting each individual’s life back on track using customized approaches.
We understand what it’s like to get through each day experiencing severe anxiety, and we recognize that Xanax and other prescription medications can take the edge off of these symptoms. Our highly skilled, licensed medical staff will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that’s meant to help you forget your own unique path to an addiction-free life.
In addition, we offer dual diagnosis care for those who need other mental or physical health issues addressed concurrently, meaning you will have the opportunity to heal fully through corrective services such as the following:
- Medical detox
- Health/wellness consultation
- Substance abuse education
- Individual and group therapy
- 12-step programs
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
You no longer have to depend on your instincts to tell the difference between counterfeit and real Xanax. During your time in treatment, you will have the opportunity to work on your mental health without the risk of making it more challenging to handle. Through support and professional treatment, you CAN find your way back to the happy and fulfilling life you deserve!