WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFVS) - The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a warning to the public about dangerous counterfeit pills killing Americans.
Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing counterfeit fentanyl pills, a synthetic opioid that is lethal in minutes.
The DEA has sampled tablets seized between January 2019 and March 2019 and found that 27 percent contained a potentially lethal dose 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 is one of the key drugs behind the ongoing opioid crisis and the leader in most deaths by an illicit drug.
“We have seen an alarming increase in counterfeit pills being seized in the Midwest,” stated DEA special agent in charge William Callahan, who oversees federal narcotic enforcement efforts in Missouri, Kansas and Southern Illinois. According to SAC Callahan, “Counterfeit pills seized in the Midwest have been found to contain lethal amounts of fentanyl.”
A lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams. This can vary due to body size, tolerance, amount of previous usage and other factors.