Concern Grows Following Deaths From Xanax Use In Dumfries and Galloway

An ongoing issue with deaths in Dumfries and Galloway linked to use of the drug Xanax has prompted a fresh warning.

The Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) has noted that numbers of deaths connected to the drug have increased over the last couple of years.

Dr Andrew Carnon, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and member of the ADP, said: “The Partnership has noted that a number of recent drug-related deaths in the region have included Xanax among the causes of death.

“For this reason, we feel that it is important that people are fully aware of the dangers that this drug can pose.

“It’s important for people to be aware that Xanax can be a very dangerous drug, particularly if taken along with other substances such as heroin, methadone or alcohol.

“The risks are of unconsciousness, coma, and reduced breathing which can lead to death.”

The Alcohol and Drugs Partnership is a multi-agency group, and its role includes monitoring drug use and trends within the region.

The Partnership meets regularly and develops actions to address problems relating to drug use.

Within the Partnership, work takes place to review data in order to assist in preventing drug deaths and help develop services.

Recent reviews have shown that there were around five deaths in recent months where Xanax was confirmed as one causative factor.

On present data, this accounts for almost half of the drug-related deaths currently identified within 2018.

Dr Carnon said: “Xanax is not prescribed in the UK on the NHS. As a consequence, the likely source of any Xanax within Dumfries and Galloway will be illicit.

“This means the users cannot know exactly what is in the drug that they obtain, and this therefore adds to the risk.

“We would advise that if anyone is in the presence of someone who has lost consciousness or is suffering difficulty in breathing to immediately call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

“Xanax is a fast-acting drug, and effects can come on in under 30 minutes.”

Partner agency Police Scotland continue to work on addressing the sources of illicit drugs, including Xanax.

Superintendent Graeme Galloway of Police Scotland said: “The situation regarding Xanax is clearly a worrying trend in Dumfries and Galloway. Police Scotland continue to work with our communities to identify and target those responsible for supplying illegal drugs.”

Anyone who would like advice about Xanax or other drugs can contact Addaction on 0800 035 0793 or the NHS Specialist Alcohol and Drug Service on 01387 244555.