SAN ANTONIO -- It’s a small and powerful pill and now Xanax is becoming the subject of abuse. Experts worry too many young people are illegally obtaining and abusing the prescription drug found in many homes.
Commonly used to treat anxiety, Abigail Moore, Executive Director of San Antonio Council on Drug Abuse, or SACADA, said if a child consumes the drug it’s the equivalent of six to eight beers.
According the Drug Enforcement Administration the abuse of prescription drugs is growing rapidly to epidemic proportions.
Sunday, police arrested 20 year old Julian Martinez.
Officers said Martinez admitted having sex with a 12 year old girl.
According to investigators he and the girl took Xanax and smoked marijuana.
Officers are checking to see if Martinez had other victims.
"I can't imagine what that young lady went through having been under the influence of Xanax and mixing it with marijuana," insisted Moore.
She doesn't know details of this case but she understands the prescription drug and how it affects people.
She said it can be highly addictive and dangerous for children.
"It's more for adults struggling with anxiety, stress disorder and panic attacks," stated Moore.
The SACADA spokesperson pointed to statewide statistics indicating how the drug is growing in illegal street level usage—even with children as young as 12 years old.
In 2011, Xanax made news after a San Antonio mother was arrested for having sex with a minor. She told police it was a 13 year old neighbor and Amanda Nabers stated they had several encounters.
She admitted taking Xanax, smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol before a sexual encounter.
So what exactly does it do to the body?
"It really impacts the breathing, the heart rate, the motor skills,” slowing responses down and possibly having a numbing effect said Moore.
According to the Medicine Abuse Project, 2500 teenagers get high on illegally obtained prescription drugs daily—the number is not exclusive to Xanax or benzodiazepines.
However, in 1999, a statewide report showed 55 deaths directly related benzodiazepines.
That number shot up to 389 deaths in 2011.
"This is a teachable moment,” said Moore who hopes parents talk to their children about abuse or contact agency for help.
The DEA also sponsors a program called National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which will take place April 27 from 10am-2pm.
It’s a way for people to safely disposed of old or unwanted prescription drugs in their medicine cabinet.
For more information about the event and location please call: (210)442-5620.