MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is issuing a Public Safety Alert, the first in six years, after seizing an unprecedented number of counterfeit pills containing the deadly substance fentanyl.
The counterfeit pills, mass-produced by criminal drug networks, are made to look like prescription painkillers, and are killing unsuspecting Americans at an unprecedented rate.READ MORE: Fort Lauderdale Teen Accused Of Making Online Threat To Miramar High
The counterfeit pills look like oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).
They’re being sold on the street and online and the DEA says these fake pills are laced with fentanyl or methamphetamine, because they’re cheaper to make.
DEA laboratory testing reveals a dramatic 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.
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This warning does not apply to drugs you get at pharmacies, prescribed by your doctor. These are counterfeit drugs that are bought on the streets, online, or passed out at parties that many young people attend.
The feds say don’t trust a pill just because it looks like something you get from the doctor.
More than 9.5 million fake pills have been seized by the DEA in every U.S. state just this year, which is more than the last two years combined and they are responsible more 93,000 thousand deaths last year.
The vast majority of counterfeit pills brought into the U.S. are produced in Mexico, and China is supplying chemicals for the manufacturing of fentanyl in Mexico.MORE NEWS: Hollywood Neighborhood Stunned After Police Officer Yandy Chirino Was Fatally Shot
Tips for Avoiding Counterfeit Prescription Drugs:
- Be mindful of appearance—closely examine the packaging and lot numbers of prescription drugs and be alert to any changes from one prescription to the next.
- Consult your pharmacist or physician if your prescription drug looks suspicious.
- Alert your pharmacist and physician immediately if your medication causes adverse side effects or if your condition does not improve.
- Use caution when purchasing drugs on the Internet. Do not purchase medications from unlicensed online distributors or those who sell medications without a prescription. Reputable online pharmacies will have a seal of approval called the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS), provided by the Association of Boards of Pharmacy in the United States.
- Be aware that product promotions or cost reductions and other “special deals” may be associated with counterfeit product promotion.