In September 2021, The Drug Enforcement Administration warns the American public of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.
According to the alert, officials report a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose.
Additional findings show that two out of every five pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
Some of the most common counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).
Fake prescription pills are widely accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including teens and young adults. These counterfeit pills have been seized by DEA in every U.S. state, and in unprecedented quantities.
We need to remember that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year more than 93,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States, marking the largest number of drug-related deaths ever recorded in a year.
Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid most commonly found in counterfeit pills, is the primary driver of this alarming increase in overdose deaths.
The only safe medications are ones prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Any pills that do not meet this standard are unsafe and potentially deadly.
DEA has launched the public awareness campaign, One Pill Can Kill, to educate the public on the dangers of counterfeit pills and how to keep communities safe.
The responsibility if for everyone and is in the hands of each person. Stopping deaths caused by overdoses is not an easy task, but efforts in prevention and education work must be intensified. Communities must know what are the causes that generate these problems, but above all be more empathetic and participatory to inform and help each other.