Peanut butter doesn’t taste as good without jelly. Popcorn doesn’t truly satisfy without a butter bath. Cake isn’t sweet enough without a coat of frosting. We mix and match substances every day to give us the sensation we want.
Some of us even mix and match our drugs.
On the surface, fentanyl and Xanax seem like ideal BFFs. They work on different portions of the brain and, in theory, they can reinforce and augment one another.
But in reality, a Xanax and fentanyl cocktail can kill you. And some people find that out when the Xanax pills they buy come laced with fentanyl they never asked for.
What Fentanyl and Xanax Do
Fentanyl and Xanax are prescription medications, and they both target brain chemistry. Understanding their chemical composition may help the dangers of mixing become clear.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication, and it’s often used to treat the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Panic disorder
It works by adjusting chemical signals in the brain. When they’re altered, your mind doesn’t move as quickly. If you’re struggling with anxiety, this is a major relief. You can relax and breathe easier when the drugs kick in.
But when you don’t have an anxiety disorder, the Xanax sedation can feel like being drunk, touched with euphoria. For recreational users, this is the fun part of Xanax.
Fentanyl is a painkiller, and according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it should be hard to get. It’s made only for:
- Cancer pain that doesn’t respond to other medications.
- People older than 18.
- Those working with doctors who have experience with pain medications.
Fentanyl is a heavy-duty medication that also changes brain chemistry. All opioids do that, but fentanyl is the strongest in its class. Just a few milligrams of the drug is enough to cause severe sedation leading to death.
People rarely take fentanyl purposefully, especially if they’re new to the drug scene. But unfortunately, it’s a cheap and easy drug to make, and that means dealers are flooding the market with the stuff. You may think you’re taking another opioid, like Vicodin, but you could be taking fentanyl instead.
Why Do People Mix Them?
It’s clear that fentanyl and Xanax are very different substances that shouldn’t go well together. But some people do mix and match them. Each person may have their own reasons, but they can be placed into just a few groups.
People mix these two drugs for:
- Cost savings. Street drugs aren’t cheap. You want to buy the version that gives you the biggest high for the smallest price. Some users say that adding Xanax extends the high of an opioid, so you can make one dose last longer.
- A smooth experience. Fentanyl’s transitions are harsh. You’re sober, you’re incredibly high, and then you’re hungover. Xanax can ease your brain, so all of those shifts aren’t so terrifying.
- Experimentation. What happens when you mix two things together? It’s a natural question, and once you’ve started tinkering with brain chemistry, it’s reasonable to keep the experiment going.
While some people make the choice to mix these two substances, others don’t. They believe they’re buying one thing when they’re really taking another.
Fentanyl You Didn’t Expect
Doctors don’t hand out prescription pills like candy. If you’re taking them for fun, you’re probably buying them from a street dealer or off the internet. Chances are, any pill you buy has fentanyl within it.
Fentanyl comes together with a few raw ingredients and a bit of cook time. Companies in China can ship everything a dealer needs to make a batch of product at home, and it’s impossible for people to tell the real from the fake.
Dealers want to get the highest price possible for their drugs, so they target popular substances people both know and want. Xanax is one of those drugs.
Dealers know you’ll ask for the pills by name, and in most cases, you’ll pay top dollar for each dose. The bits they hand you may look like Xanax, but they may have a little or a lot of fentanyl in them too.
What Happens When You Mix?
Whether you intended to combine these drugs or it happened because of deception, your health is at risk. These two substances don’t play nicely together, and they can combine in such a way that ends your life.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 30 percent of opioid overdose deaths also involve benzodiazepines. We all know opioids like Vicodin take lives. We’re in the midst of an opioid crisis that takes lives every day. But if you didn’t know mixing played a role, you’re not alone.
Even doctors aren’t always aware that these two substances don’t mix. It isn’t all that unusual to see prescriptions for both drugs in the medicine cabinets of very ill people. When doctors need to ease pain and anxiety, it seems reasonable to give both drugs.
Unfortunately, combining them means hitting the central nervous system with a one-two punch. It leads to the following:
- Slow breathing
- Cool body temperature
- Slow heartbeat
Without immediate help, you can die from this situation.
Emergency medical personnel can give you a drug that renders fentanyl inert. Immediately, fentanyl won’t work at all. Your Xanax will still be working, and you might still be sedated, but your chances of life loss are a bit smaller.
Have you ever overdosed on Xanax, fentanyl, or both? Take it as a wakeup call.
You need help for your drug habits, so you’ll live to see your next birthday. Enroll in a treatment program and get the help you need today.