CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a press release on Monday to alert the public of dangerous counterfeit pills containing fentanyl that are coming into the U.S.
According to the release, Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid that is lethal in minute doses, for distribution throughout North America.
The release stated that based on a sampling of tablets seized nationwide between January and March 2019, the DEA found that 27 percent contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.
“Capitalizing on the opioid epidemic and prescription drug abuse in the United States, drug trafficking organizations are now sending counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in bulk to the United States for distribution,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “Counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin are responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States each year.”
The release stated that fentanyl and other highly potent synthetic opioids remain the primary driver behind the ongoing opioid crisis, with fentanyl involved in more deaths than any other illicit drug.
“If you’re addicted to opioids and you’re buying them on the street, I strongly encourage you to seek help before it’s too late,” said Acting Special Agent In Charge Dan Dodds, head of DEA’s Louisville Division, which serves West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. “Mexican drug cartels operate in towns big and small, all across the United States and the pills you can buy on the street are likely to contain fentanyl and they will kill you.”
The DEA said in the release that a lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams, but can vary based on factors such as an individual’s body size, tolerance and amount of precious usage. The full Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program report on the recent drug sampling and testing is available here.