DEA Reminds Families to Discuss the Dangers of Drugs Before Students Return to School
OMAHA, Neb. – As students across Nebraska return to school, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Omaha Division is reminding families to make time for conversation about the dangers of drugs and is encouraging discussions on the risk of overdose associated with counterfeit pills.
“Students can face an enormous amount of peer pressure to try or experiment with substances they are told are safe,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin King said. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk with your kids and explain to them how harmful drugs are to their mind and body. The choice they make when asked to experiment could have long lasting effects and potentially deadly consequences.”
Between 2019 and 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a nearly 30 percent increase in drug overdose deaths. 92,183 people died from drug overdose in 2020 and nearly 61 percent of these deaths involved synthetic opioids including fentanyl.
The DEA has seen a surge in counterfeit pills, with 26 percent of the pills examined in 2019 containing a potentially lethal dose, 2 milligrams or more, of fentanyl. This marks an increase from 2017 when 10 percent of the pills examined contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and a lethal dose is equal in size to a few grains of salt. Inconsistencies and lack of quality control during production make taking counterfeit pills extremely dangerous. Marketed as M30’s, Perc30’s, Blues and Mexican Oxy’s, counterfeits are being sold on the street and through the Dark Web.
In Iowa, DEA Omaha Division investigators collected less than 10 pills in 2017 but seized nearly 4,000 pills in 2020. Through just the first seven months of 2021, DEA investigators have seized approximately 3,400 pills in Iowa.
In addition to counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, DEA has seen an uptick in counterfeit pills made of pressed methamphetamine. Investigators have seen both fentanyl and methamphetamine laced pills marketed and sold with common prescription brand names including Adderall and Xanax.
“The truth of the matter is that there are some dangerous people pushing dangerous drugs and they don’t discriminate to whom they sell,” King said. “Talk with your family members and warn them about the dangers of taking pills not filled through a legitimate pharmacy and not prescribed to them individually. The conversation may just save their life.”