The dark web is an area of the Internet similar to the black market. It is a secretive platform for illegal goods. Through this channel, teens are buying Xanax to self-medicate their anxiety. To them, it’s the easiest way to combat mental health issues, but it’s much more dangerous than they realize.
On the dark web, Xanax is cheap and easily available. Beyond being illegal, it’s a simple way to begin an addiction. It begins with occasionally taking a tablet, particularly when a teen needs a burst of energy and focus to study or take an exam. But as their body builds a tolerance, one pill becomes two, then three, then even more.
Xanax is composed of alprazolam, which targets the nervous system to subside anxiety and panic disorders. In 2013, Xanax (and drugs of similar composition) were cited in 31 percent of deaths attributed to overdose.
Signs of a Xanax overdose include drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, weakness, dizziness, difficulty breathing and blurred vision. And according to Malcolm Lader, a clinical psychopharmacologist at King’s College London, it can also have amnesia-inducing effects.
“[Users] become zombie-like. They’re dazed. It’s an introductory drug to more serious abuse. If they’re taking it every day…they’re going to be staggering around,” he said in an article in TheGuardian.com.