Surge in overdoses and deaths linked to ‘Fake Xanax’

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Attorney General is sending out a warning after a rise in deaths nationwide from bromazolam, better known as ‘Fake Xanax.’ Bromazolam is an extremely potent benzodiazepine that’s not approved for medical use in any country and can lead to serious health problems, including death.  While it’s often seen posing as Xanax, experts say it’s much stronger, making it easier to overdose.

“There’s been a rapid and drastic increase in toxicology cases involving bromazolam,” warned Attorney General Ashley Moody. “That increase is from one percent in 2021 to more than 13 percent in 2022. It’s imperative that Floridians understand how dangerous the street drug really is, especially when mixed with illicit fentanyl, which is the number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 45.”

Other states have also recently sent out warnings about ‘Fake Xanax,” including Indiana where the Department of Health said the drug can be sold as tablets, powders and gummies. It’s also frequently mixed with opioids, such as fentanyl. Health experts say the negative side effects usually occur 15-45 minutes after ingestion and last for five to eight hours.

“Bromazolam is known to cause loss of coordination, drowsiness, dizziness, respiratory depression and even death,” said Moody.

Even though Narcan will not work if someone’s overdosing on bromazolam, experts recommend administering it anyway because it can reverse fentanyl poisoning.