Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

April 01, 2016

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7900

Public Safety Alert From Drug Enforcement Administration Counterfeit Hydrocodone Tablets Containing Fentanyl

An example of the counterfeit hydrocodone pills that have tested positive for potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl.
An example of the counterfeit hydrocodone pills that have tested positive for potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl.

SAN FRANCISCO - Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, has been linked to multiple overdoses and deaths throughout the Sacramento region since last week.  The overdoses are occurring at an alarming rate and are the basis for this public safety alert.  Fentanyl is an odorless substance considered to be 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.  Fentanyl is potentially lethal, even at very low levels.

As of today, according to the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services there have been 36 opioid-related overdoses and nine deaths that have been reported.   Overdose victims range from 18 - 59 years of age, approximately 50% are male and 50% are female. 

Public Health and Law Enforcement officials believe that the pills containing Fentanyl were likely sold on the street under the guise of being legitimate hydrocodone.  Additionally, the pills are marked to mimic the authentic hydrocodone product. However, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services reports that test results show that some of the tested pills did not contain hydrocodone, but rather fentanyl. 

The DEA urges the public not to take a prescription drug unless prescribed by your own physician and obtained from a reputable pharmacy. 

The public can submit investigative tips anonymously to the DEA tip line.  If there is an immediate threat to human health or safety it should be reported to your local police or law enforcement authority.

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