Xanax is Not Your Friend

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In 2016 Bell High School had a very prevalent Xanax problem, where multiple students were caught daily with the possession of Xanax, or under the influence of Xanax. This year it seems like Bell High school might be dealing with another wave of Xanax issues. Compared to 2016, this semester is a big improvement. However, compared to the last school year there has been a significant increase in the usage of Xanax.

Mr. Casanas, Assistant Dean, said that in 2016 he was catching three to four students a day with Xanax or under the influence of Xanax.   This resulted in the school calling ambulances almost every other day.

Mr. Casanas says the number of students they catch with Xanax varies. “We will go a week or two without finding anyone and then we’ll have a day where we will find three students all at once so well end up with 10 kids in one week,” he said.

One student who used to abuse Xanax regularly said that the reason she started taking Xanax was because of the hype that it was receiving.  “It was popular and I Just wanted to try one, and another one, and then all the different kinds.” The student, who spoke under the condition that she remains anonymous, said that she got the drugs from other kids at school, or would text someone who wasn’t in school to bring her one through the gate.

In 2016 she was caught and the school sent her to the hospital in an ambulance.

“All Bell High School did was put me in an ambulance and made me somebody else’s problem. They also put me in stupid drug classes.”

She claims that the drug classes did not help her stop doing drugs, but instead helped her by making her aware of the different pathways she had in life. “Ms. Pickard did the classes and she had a poster with three rows, one row was the road of high school where everyone is the same, the next one is after high school where you expand your career, and the last row was drugs and homelessness. It just made me think about what road I wanted to go on.” She said that while she was on Xanax she did a lot of regrettable things including getting arrested. The classes always stayed in the back of her mind and she eventually stopped abusing Xanax.     

When a student is caught with Xanax, they are arrested, taken to the Bell police station, and  booked, Casanas explained. When school staff catches someone under the influence of Xanax the student is monitored and their parents are called.

“Our number one concern is the child’s safety,” he said.  “We call the parent and see if they can come to get them, we monitor them and if they’re too far gone we call the paramedics. We monitor them the whole time, they are our responsibility here and we are liable”

Casanas believes that Xanax became popular to abuse because it became available and people use what is available to them.  Students believe Xanax comes in different colors – yellow (school buses), green (hulks), and red (Red Devils) but “technically there is only one kind of Xanax,” said Casanas.  “The problem is that people are selling other stuff and passing it off as Xanax that aren’t Xanax. What we find on campus are the 2-milligram pills, we haven’t found any 1-milligram pills or any different colored ones.”

Taking Xanax is very dangerous, but people are at a higher risk when they take a fake Xanax, which could be any color, even white. No one can ever be sure of what they are consuming when they buy street drugs. It is almost impossible to know what is in a fake Xanax. Street dealers who make their own Xanax often combine other substances in compressed pills, according to Anaheim Lighthouse (www.anaheimlighthouse.com) a rehabilitation center in southern California.  Drug dealers will use ingredients like baking soda or talc to try and make a quick buck off kids who want to get high.

Often times these fake Xanax can be laced with a deadly synthetic opioid called Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a very potent painkiller that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine or heroin. Students who unknowingly consume this product can die or get addicted to drugs they did not even know they were taking.

The effects of Xanax differ and each person will have a different reaction. According to doctors, depending on how small a person is the chances of a Xanax stopping the heart increases, which is why it’s important to only use this drug if it is prescribed. People who have done Xanax in the past claim that the drug has made them slow and forgetful.

Casanas said that he confiscates more marijuana than anything else on campus, but he feels Xanax are more of a threat to students. “I’ve seen kids on Xanax that are like walking zombies,” he said.  Bell High School’s main concern is that students are doing serious damage to their brains and are in denial about it. Xanax is not your friend.

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