Russian Drug Becomes Popular in North Texas

A dangerous Russian drug that has suddenly become popular in North Texas may have contributed to at least nine recent deaths in Tarrant County, including four in just the past three months.

Phenazepam – a tranquilizer more powerful than Xanax or Valium – turned up in toxicology tests of William Brawley, of Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.

Brawley, 18, a senior at Brewer High School, died the night of Jan. 7 when he and two others tried to run across busy Loop 820 after his car ran out of gas.

At first, his parents didn’t understand why he would have run into an oncoming car.

“There was a bridge right in front of them,” said his mother, Mary Brawley.

“They could have just crossed over the bridge,” added his father, Tony Brawley. “It was 50 yards in front of them."

His parents said the toxicology test, which showed he had taken the Russian drug, may provide new clues into what clouded his judgment.

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