Teenagers buying Xanax online are almost "unpoliceable" but the practice poses a major risk because of the drug's high purity levels, according to a charity.
An investigation by the BBC has found some teenagers are buying the anxiety drug Xanax through social media. In the UK it can only be legally sold through private prescriptions.
Neil Coles, an early intervention substance worker at drugs charity Addaction, told Jamie East and Michelle Dewberry: "At the moment it feels almost unpoliceable."
He explained that "as quickly as a vendor [on social media] is removed it’s replaced" and some "routinely take down their own pages" and "recreate them with a slightly different name."
He said the main problem is "almost everything that we’re seeing presented to us at the moment is undoubtedly fake" as people with pill presses use the active ingredient alprazolam and create their own Xanax.
"The stuff it’s cut with is not so much of a problem" Coles added, but its high purity. "With high purity comes a larger risk around toxic overdose due to young people just simply not knowing the dose they should be taking."
He believes those buying it are either " using Xanax recreationally, using it along with cannabis" or self-diagnosing anxiety and "looking to self-medicate."
In order to tackle the issue he thinks "we need to gather the statistics and the evidence around young people using these substances" and then "be talking to these young people honestly and openly" about the risks.
Listen to the full interview above