DEA warns of lethal counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl
Based on a sampling of tablets seized from street dealers nationwide from January to March of this year, the DEA found that 27% contained fentanyl
By Marie Szaniszlo
ARLINGTON, Va. — Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of fentanyl-laced, counterfeit prescription pills that are killing Americans, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Based on a sampling of tablets seized from street dealers nationwide from January to March of this year, the DEA found that 27% contained fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is lethal in minute doses, the DEA said Monday.
“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,” DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a statement Monday. “Counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin are responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States each year.”
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, according to the DEA.
“Buying drugs from street dealers is deadly, especially when fentanyl is disguised as a real pharmaceutical,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle. “The DEA and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners stand committed to taking deadly fentanyl off the streets of New England and ensuring those who manufacture and traffic these lethal pills are held accountable to the communities and families they damage with this poison.”
A lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams but can vary, based on an individual’s body size, tolerance, amount of previous usage and other factors, according to the DEA. The full Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program Report on the recent drug sampling and testing is available online.
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