Warning of possibly deadly counterfeit 'Xanax'

Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office is warning the public about possibly deadly counterfeit medication.

According to the sheriff’s office, they received reports a counterfeit version of the prescription drug alprazolam is being sold on the streets of Santa Cruz County.

The sheriff's office says, "Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine with brand names that include Niravam and Xanax... Alprazolam is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders and anxiety caused by depression."

The counterfeit version of the drug may be linked to two recent overdose deaths.

In the first case, two Watsonville men were at a party Oct. 24 when they took what they thought was Xanax.

Later, they both experienced symptoms, and were taken to the hospital. One of the men, a 19 year old, was put on life support and died Friday.

In the second case a 29-year-old man took what he thought was Xanax on Oct. 27. He was found dead in his home later the next day.

Autopsies and toxicology results are pending in both cases.

According to a post on the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office Facebook page, San Francisco has also recently experienced three similar overdose deaths related to counterfeit "street Xanax” possibly laced with Fentanyl.