Deadly Counterfeit Pills spreading across the USA

Deadly Counterfeit Pills spreading across the USA

Deadly Counterfeit Pills spreading across the USA

As our nation remains in the midst of an opioid crisis, another disturbing trend has emerged: the selling and the use of counterfeit medication.

These pills, which are often sold online, look like legitimate prescription meds such as Oxycontin or Adderall. In fact, people buy them believing that they are similar to the pills you would get from the doctor.

But many of these fake pills actually contain different ingredients and are laced with dangerous – and sometimes deadly – amounts of the synthetic opioid fentanyl or methamphetamine.

Authentic Oxycontin
Fake Oxycontin

Quick Facts:

  • According to DEA lab testing: 2 out of every 5 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
  • More than 9.5 million counterfeit pills were seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined.
  • Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms.

Chances are that you’ve heard one of many tragic overdose stories connected to the use of counterfeit pills.

Earlier this year, the 16-year old son of famous television therapist Dr. Laura Berman died after overdosing on fentanyl. Berman believes her son bought the drug, which he thought was Xanax, from a dealer on Snapchat.

In 2020, 23-year-old Wyatt Williamson died after consuming a pill he thought was Xanax, but was actually laced with fentanyl.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently issued a message to warn Americans about the dangers of counterfeit pills.

Where Did They Come From? 

Most of these pills are produced in other countries; mainly China, Mexico, and India. However, an increasing number of pills laced with fentanyl are being produced in the U.S.

They are usually produced in substandard conditions, labeled incorrectly, and may include dangerous, unapproved substances. There are no quality control mechanisms in the illicit labs producing counterfeit pills to ensure dosing is not lethal.

As stated earlier, online sales via internet marketplaces and social media are the major sources for obtaining counterfeit pills. A significant number of high school and college students purchase Adderall and Xanax from dark web drug markets and/or through social media referrals.

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Download the drug factsheet and learn more at the US DEA’s website.