DEA issues warning over counterfeit prescription pills from Mexico
DENVER – The Drug Enforcement Administration is alerting the public of dangerous counterfeit pills killing Americans. Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid that is lethal in minute doses, for distribution throughout North America.
Based on a sampling of tablets seized nationwide between January and March 2019, 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.”
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.
“Along the Front Range of Colorado, most of the fentanyl encountered comes from Mexican sources and is in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills,” said Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Division Deanne Reuter. “Western Colorado has experienced a disproportionate number of overdose deaths caused by fentanyl pills coming from Mexican sources. Fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills are directly linked to at least 10 overdose deaths in western Colorado.”
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. The full Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program Report on the recent drug sampling and testing is available on the DEA.gov website.