‘Overdose crisis:’ DEA sounds alarm on fake pills with fentanyl

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2 out of every 5 fake pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose, according to the DEA

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)

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a Public Safety Alert after an “alarming” increase of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and meth.

 More than 9.5 million pills were seized in every U.S. state by the DEA. The pills have at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a lethal dose, according to the DEA.

The counterfeit pills are made to look like real prescriptions for opioid medications, oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, or stimulants like amphetamines.

“Fake prescription pills are widely accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors,” the DEA said in a statement.

Fentanyl is the synthetic opioid most found in counterfeit pills and is the primary driver of the “alarming” increase in overdose deaths, according to the DEA.

The DEA added that the alert does not apply to legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals and dispensed by licensed pharmacists.

“DEA lab analyses reveal that two out of every five fake pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose,” Anne Milgram, the administrator of DEA said in a statement. “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.

Governor Greg Abbott signed an anti-smuggling bill (SB 576) on Wednesday, enhances the criminal penalty for human smuggling when payment is involved, said a release.

For more information about the DEA’s Public Safety Announcement, click here.

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