THE sedative linked to the death of Louis Tomlinson’s teenage sister is being pushed at youngsters via heavily discounted adverts online.
Xanax, was among the “perfect storm of drugs” taken by the One Direction singer’s sibling Felicite.
An inquest into her death last week heard that the 18-year-old, who suffered with depression, also took cocaine and oxycodone as part of a fatal overdose in March.
But yesterday many British-based dealers were offering discounts and savings cards for Xanax, which is banned by the NHS.
This encourages users, who are not asked to provide their age, to regularly return to the site to buy the drug.
The sellers offer them for sale on the dark web tempting users with cheap deals and loyal cards. They are then posted direct to teens.
Our probe also found many of the sellers were using Instagram and Snapchat to finish deals and exchange messages with buyers.
One advert boasted of a 50 per cent reduction on the anti-anxiety medication.
Another said those who bought in bulk could see the price cut to 50p a pill. Many promised delivery within 24 hours.
There have been increasing warnings over the spiralling use of Xanax among children and teenagers in the UK.
A recent survey indicated as many as 35 per cent of those aged between 13 and 24 take the drug.
Many turn to it to cope with depression or anxiety when they are unable to get treatment from their doctor.
What is Xanax?
XANAX is prescribed for the short term management of anxiety disorders and panic disorders – but many Brits are risking their lives by using it as a “party drug”.
The benzodiazepine tranquiliser is highly addictive as it produces dopamine in the brain – the chemical associated with feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
Members of the benzodiazepine family have been associated with depressive and even suicidal thoughts with prolonged use.
The drug is not available on the NHS but can be obtained on a prescription from a private doctor.
Counterfeit, or fraudulent, versions of the drug are often bought on the dark web and are mixed with other substances, making it very dangerous.
When mixed with alcohol it can slow a person’s heart rate and breathing; when this happens, the user is at high risk of respiratory arrest, impaired oxygen exchange, coma and even death
But it has been linked to memory blackouts and personality changes.
Xanax is banned by the NHS but can be easily bought online from the US, where it is legal, creating a black market.
Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, panic attacks and even hallucinations.
In February a report claimed that at least 204 deaths had been linked to the drug since 2015.
Border Police have repeatedly warned of the rising amount of Xanax tablets being seized at UK ports. Many have later found to be counterfeit.
The use is particularly widespread in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Irish police say they now seize more Xanax than they do heroin or ecstasy.
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Last year one Xanax dealer boasted to BBC journalist Livvy Haydock that her homemade Xanax pills are popular with schoolkids – and said she would only refuse to sell to kids under 10.
She said: “The youngest I would say are about 14. Sometimes it is hard to judge a kids age, so it could be younger.”
Louis’ mum Johannah had battled leukaemia but succumbed to the disease in December 2016[/caption]
The court heard that the teen had struggled with drug use after her mum’s death[/caption]
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