They are called “Xanie Tarts” – Xanax-laced versions of the popular Sweet Tarts candy. And, despite their innocent appearance, law enforcement officials are warning parents, teachers, and students to be on the lookout.
“Some Candy Circulating May Be Laced with Xanax”
One of the scariest things about Xanie Tarts is that real candy is being used. The process doesn’t change the appearance of the Sweet Tarts. This means that there is almost no way to know if the candy has been laced until it has been eaten.
That places enormous pressure on parents, teachers, and law enforcement, and it puts children at tremendous risk. It is entirely possible that someone could overdose on Xanie Tarts if they eat them unaware that they are laced with dangerous drugs.
“The biggest concern is a kid could accidentally pick one up if they find it laying somewhere and pop it in their mouth and have a very bad reaction to it.”
~ Police Lt. Randy Ratliff
Xanax – The Good and the Bad
Xanax – also known as alprazolam – is a benzodiazepine-class medication that is typically prescribed for the treatment of anxiety or panic disorders. It is one of the most-prescribed medications in the United States.
However, it is also a popular drug of abuse. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Xanax is the most-frequently misused benzodiazepine in the country. The potential for abuse exists because Xanax is both potent and fast-acting.
In other words, patients feel the drug’s powerful effects quickly.
And, because Xanax also has a short half-life, it must be taken fairly often. This increases the likelihood of dependence. Recent research suggests that even taking properly-prescribed benzodiazepines “as needed” may promote misuse.
Another reason that Xanax is so often abused is because when the drug is discontinued, patients can suffer harsh withdrawal symptoms:
- Panic attacks
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Feelings of unreality
- Hallucinations and nightmares
- Flu-like symptoms
- Extreme sensitivity to light
- Muscular pain, spasms, and cramps
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts and actions
At its most severe, Xanax withdrawal can be fatal. For this reason, a person who has been abusing or is dependent upon any benzodiazepine must undergo a medically-supervised detoxification to ensure their safety.
Xanax Overdoses – The OTHER Epidemic
Much is made of the ongoing opioid epidemic, and with good reason – in 2015, over 20,000 Americans died because of fatal prescription opioid painkiller overdoses.
But often overlooked is the fact that 30% of all prescription overdose deaths involve benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
The Practice Is Spreading beyond Xanax
Recent news reports show that the practice of infusing candies with drugs has expanded. In mid-May of this year, an Indiana man was busted with Sweet Tarts and Smarties that were laced with any of several drugs –
- Liquid THC concentrate
Lt. Ratliff said, “It constantly evolves. Narcotics dealers come up with different things all the time.”