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Southeast Missouri State University Arrow, a student publication, recently profiled a young woman’s experience with counterfeit Xanax pills made with fentanyl. Kelly Gant initially started taking Xanax to help her deal with anxiety, and the number of pills increased over time. After finding herself in the hospital after overdosing, Gant was shocked to learn she had not overdosed on Xanax, but on fentanyl.

Confused, Gant asked the man she bought pills from where he got the bags of pills that he sold to high school kids and, “He kind of laughed at me and said, ‘I’m making them.’” Gant said her dealer had purchased the necessary tools and supplies online and used them to create counterfeit Xanax and other medications, but with the main ingredient being fentanyl.

Gant said she could not tell the difference between real Xanax pills and the counterfeit ones that he was selling except for the physical dependence. “He’d sell to a kid, give them a deal on a couple, so they’d take one, take one the next day and want one the next day,” she said. “It definitely did it for everyone, and all these kids thought they were just addicted to Xanax.”

Her dealer said that the pills were, “better, you’re getting more than your money’s worth so you should be thanking me that you’re getting something better,” but after three people overdosed on the pills that he made, the dealer had a temporary change of heart. Eventually, the financial incentive lured him back to selling fake pills to unsuspecting kids. Gant was lucky and found a recovery program that has helped her put her addiction behind her. She is currently enrolled in college and working towards a degree in athletic training. She is one year into her recovery from substance abuse and is one of the lucky ones.