Health officials warn of counterfeit Xanax found in N.W.T.

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Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife in the summer of 2021.  (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)
Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife in the summer of 2021. (Liny Lamberink/CBC - image credit)

Health officials in the N.W.T. say they've detected a counterfeit type of Xanax within the territory.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine that has a tranquilizing effect, and is often used to treat anxiety. The counterfeit type, Flualprazolam, is more potent and its effects last longer.

A public health advisory issued by N.W.T. Health and Social Services Wednesday morning states Flualprazolam has hypnotic and sedative effects and can cause "serious psychological as well as life-threatening physical harms" if used unmonitored, especially combined with other depressants like alcohol or opioids.

In high doses, it can cause severe sedation for long periods of time, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, coma or death.

The department stated Flualprazolam "has been associated with numerous drug user deaths and cases of clinical intoxications."

Naloxone kits should be used if someone has overdosed on Flualprazolam, in case they also consumed opioids. However, naloxone won't stop a benzodiazepine overdose.

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