ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – It's so strong that it's been nicknamed death in a tablet. There's no doubt that the headline-making "super pill" also has super powers.
It can kill within minutes. In fact, the death toll in the Tampa Bay area sits at nine people, and it didn't take long. This deadly pill claimed those lives in a matter of weeks. The super pill is cleverly packaged as Xanax – and it looks like the real thing.
What people don't know is that this tablet is also mixed with a powerful, potent painkiller called Fentanyl, which is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. The catastrophic combination is being sold for $5 on the street.
The pill's origin is still a mystery. No one knows where it's coming from or who is manufacturing it. And, no one knows why the only place it's found in Florida is Pinellas County.
Last week, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri issued a stern warning to the public. "There's no other way to put it, you better stop buying this Xanax on the street," he said.
Concern dangerous pill will end up in teenagers' hands
Physicians are seeing an alarming trend of pill-popping parties where teenagers steal their parents' prescriptions, pour them into a bowl and begin sampling at random.
Dr. Rachel Dawkins has seen just about everything as a pediatrician at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. She tells us she's afraid the super pill could easily end up at these parties. Kids are essentially playing Russian roulette with their lives, Dawkins says.
"They don't know what they're taking and they're just trying to see what the effects are, so it's very scary," she said.
She's worried that the super pill will wind up in a bowl at a pill-popping party, and a teen will take it. "We see kids that come in all the time from overdosing on different drugs, street drugs, prescription drugs. Anything that kids can get their hand on, they're likely to take and try," Dawkins said.
Before you say, "There's no way that could happen to my kid," Dr. Dawkins says to think again.
"The parents are usually the last to know of what their kids are doing. Kids are good at hiding things, outside the home or even inside the home," she said.
It's the ease of obtaining the super pill that has physicians like Dr. Dawkins very concerned, along with law enforcement agencies that include the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Clearwater Police Department.
"Super cheap, easy to access, very dangerous," Dawkins said. "Parents should talk openly with their kids. Don't think they're not trying things."