As if the opioid crisis isn’t bad enough, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has discovered counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl.
The DEA reported that these pills are coming from Mexican cartels who are mass producing them and then distributing them into the United States.
Between January and March of this year, the DEA found that 27% percent of the tablets that they seized contained doses of fentanyl that were potentially lethal.1 These pills have been created in such a way to mimic the look of other drugs like oxycodone, but contain fentanyl instead.
This new and scary trend comes at a time when more and more people are becoming dependent on prescription pills. With the opioid epidemic rattling the nation, these opioid prescription pills are being replaced with the counterfeit fentanyl pills and the results can be deadly.
The Dangers of Counterfeit Fentanyl PillsFentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be prescribed to treat severe pain. Although it has medical purposes, many people have begun to abuse this drug in more recent years, making it problematic. Heroin is now being laced with the drug and now counterfeit painkillers are as well. Because it is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, fentanyl can be deadly.2 In fact, just 3 milligrams of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose for many people; to put this into perspective, it takes about 30 milligrams of heroin to reach a lethal dose.3
With these counterfeit prescription pills entering the United States and being distributed throughout the country, there is plenty of cause for concern. Many people are unknowingly buying prescription pills laced with fentanyl. Because fentanyl is so potent, there is a higher potential for abuse and addiction. The higher potency also means that formal prescription pill addiction treatment becomes more necessary in order for people to stop.
Beyond just addiction, there is a large concern for overdoses. There has already been a significant number of overdoses from heroin laced with fentanyl and these counterfeit pills are not helping. It is estimated that the number of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased from about 3,000 people in 2013 to over 30,000 in 2018. With such a stark increase, synthetic opioid overdose deaths are now twice as common as overdose deaths involving heroin.4 If more and more counterfeit fentanyl pills continue to enter the country and more heroin becomes laced with fentanyl, these numbers are likely to get worse as are people unknowingly taking this deadly drug. Do not let this happen to you or a loved one. Prescription pill or heroin addiction treatment could save a life.
If you or someone you love is abusing prescription pills or heroin, do not wait to get help. Our opioid addiction treatment in Philadelphia is designed to help patients regain control of their life.
Get started on the first step to sobriety by calling us at 888-280-4763.
- DEA - DEA issues warning over counterfeit prescription pills from Mexico
- CDC - Fentanyl
- Foundation For a Drug-Free World - The Truth About Fentanyl
- Medscape - Ten-Fold Rise in Deaths from Fentanyl, Other Synthetic Opioids