POLICE are warning young people about the dangers of misusing Xanax after several teenagers were treated after taking the drug.

The plea has been made to young people in the Poole and Purbeck areas.

It follows recent incidents in Upton where at least three teenagers have required medical treatment after obtaining and taking Xanax, which is the brand name for the drug alprazolam.

Xanax, a powerful benzodiazepine, is a controlled medicine used in some parts of the world to treat anxiety. It is not available in the UK on the NHS and is a Class C drug.

It can cause cardiac or respiratory difficulties, slow down reactions and can make a person feel drowsy, lethargic and forgetful.

The additctive drug can also lead to problems concentrating, as well as cause headaches and vertigo.

When taken with, or even without, alcohol Xanax can slow the heart rate down to dangerous levels.

Detective Constable Ben Griffin, of Dorset Police, is keen to highlight the risks of taking the substance.

“We want to make sure people know the risks associated with taking substances which have not been specifically prescribed to them. The consequences can be very serious and even fatal,” he said.

“You can never be sure what a tablet contains when it has not been properly prescribed or the potential effect it can have on you.

“We would urge parents to be on the lookout for any changes in their children’s behaviour or any tablets they may be found in possession of and to report any concerns they have to us,” he added.

As part of efforts to disrupt the suspected supply of illegal drugs, warrants were carried out at three addresses in the Upton area this week.

A 20-year-old woman, 19-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy – all from the Poole area – were arrested on suspicion of supplying illegal drugs and have been released under investigation as enquiries continue.

Detective Constable Griffin said: “We are committed to protecting young people in our communities and will take action to tackle the suspected supply of substances that put their health at risk.

“We are always reliant on members of the public to supply us with information about any suspected drug dealing or drug use in their area and would urge anyone with their concerns to contact us by calling 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

For advice and support with drug issues visit www.edasuk.org or www.edp.org.uk/reach-dorset/.