LUDLOW — Chief Daniel Valadas wishes to share a warning from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about the availability and lethality of fake prescription pills as part of the agency’s One Pill Can Kill Public Awareness Campaign.
The DEA reports that fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine are being mass-produced by criminal drug networks, deceptively marketed as legitimate prescription pills and killing unsuspecting people at an unprecedented rate.
According to the DEA, counterfeit pills are illegally manufactured by criminal drug networks and are made to look like real prescription opioid medications. The counterfeit pills are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them widely available to people of all ages who have a smartphone or computer. Because the pills can be sold online and through social media, parents/guardians are also urged to discuss with their children the dangers associated with misusing prescription drugs.
The DEA and the Ludlow Police Department urge community members to be vigilant and aware of the dangers of counterfeit pills, and to take only medications prescribed by a medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous and potentially lethal.
As of December 2021, the DEA seized 20 million counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during the year, and 4 out of 10 pills with fentanyl contained a potentially lethal dose. Counterfeit pills were identified in every U.S. state in unprecedented quantities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100,000 people died of a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in April 2021. The DEA reports that fentanyl, the synthetic opioid most commonly found in counterfeit pills, is the primary driver of this increase in overdose deaths. Drug poisonings involving methamphetamine, increasingly found to be pressed into counterfeit pills, also continue to rise as illegal pills containing methamphetamine become more widespread. Drug trafficking is also inextricably linked to violence in communities across the country.
For more information on the public safety alert and awareness campaign, including how to spot counterfeit pills, see the DEA fact sheet here.