DEA Issues Public Safety Alert on Sharp Increase in Fake Prescription Pills

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FILE – This photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence in a 2019 trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. In a resumption of a brutal trend, nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a new record high that predates the COVID-19 crisis. The numbers were driven by fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which accounted for 36,500 overdose deaths. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

DETROIT, Mich. (WLNS) — Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a Public Safety Alert warning
numerous Americans of the dangerous effects of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. The amount of fake prescription pills has been increasing recently and DEA is concerned.

DEA’s Public Safety Alert is the first one in six years to be issued out.

The alert serves as a way to raise public awareness of a significant nationwide surge in counterfeit pills. These fake pills are mass-produced by criminal drug networks in labs, marketed to look like prescription pills.

These fake prescription pills are killing Americans quickly like never seen before.

These pills have been taken away by DEA in every U.S. state in large quantities to help insure the safety of Americans.

More than 9.5 million counterfeit pills were seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years
combined.

DEA laboratory testing showcases a surprising rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing
at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a lethal dose. A deadly dose of fentanyl is
small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.

These fake pills are made to look like real prescription opioid medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).

Fake prescription pills are available and easily accessible, which makes this case so dangerous. These Pills are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms.

“The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths fueled by illegally
manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine. Counterfeit pills that contain these dangerous and extremely addictive drugs are more lethal and more accessible than ever before. In fact, DEA lab analyses reveal that two out of every five fake pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. DEA is focusing resources on taking down the violent drug traffickers causing the greatest harm and posing the greatest threat to the safety and health of Americans. Today, we are alerting the public to this danger so that people have the information they need to protect themselves and their children.”

Anne Milgram, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration

The majority of fake pills brought into the United States are produced in Mexico. China
is supplying chemicals for the manufacturing of fentanyl in Mexico,

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 93,000
people died of a drug overdose in the United States last year.

Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid most commonly found in counterfeit pills, is what is the concern in the alarming increase in overdose deaths.

Drug poisonings that include methamphetamine continue increasing as illegal pills containing methamphetamine become more widespread.

This alert does not include legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals
and dispensed by licensed pharmacists.

DEA encourages all Americans to be aware of fake pills and understand the dangers.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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