One of the UK’s leading addiction recovery support services is calling for online sales of the anxiety drug Xanax to be banned due to its highly addictive properties and risk to thousands of lives.
Xanax, also known as Alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine tranquilliser commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks. It has a calming effect on users.
However, it is the drug’s long-term addictive properties and easy availability online without prescription that have caused one London-based addiction service to raise awareness of the drug’s hidden dangers and seek government help to ban unregulated sales, particularly to vulnerable users.
Right at Home Central London is calling for members of the public to sign an online petition to get 10,000 signatures and demand a government response to the problem.
“Xanax’s easy availability on the internet without prescription has sparked our action to try to get web sales without prescription better monitored or banned in the UK. Vulnerable teenagers and adults must be better protected from this highly addictive drug,” says Bryan McMorrine, managing director at Right at Home Central London.
In the UK, the NHS does not prescribe Xanax and due to its unregulated state, it is unknown how many people order Xanax online, but the UK is estimated to purchase 20 per cent of all Xanax sales on the web.
More worrying is the dangers of misusing the drug, with a BBC report linking at least 204 deaths to Xanax misuse since 2015. The drug has a range of harmful side effects and can prove fatal if mixed with alcohol and other drugs.
“Improved tracking of Xanax sales is another part of our campaign. There is at present no regulatory body or government law that prohibits the online purchase by anyone with access to a credit card of this dangerous drug. We believe it is the duty of the government to bring attention and find solution to this threat,” adds McMorrine.
The rise of Xanax usage is of particular concern among UK teenagers where a rise in anxiety-related illnesses plus the drug’s re-invention as a “party drug”. Drugs charity Addaction said that kids as young as 13 were buying Xanax online.
Lisa-Marie Köppl-Hurwitz, Therapist Assistant at the Priory Group (and part-time member of Right at Home Addiction Recovery Support Team), has thrown her support behind this campaign adding “The increased abuse of Xanax represents a major public health threat. It is important to reconsider regulation to protect our society from future misuse,
To sign Right at Home Central London’s ‘Make Xanax Vanish’ petition, go to https://www.change.org/vanishxanax-rahlondon