DEA warns of fake prescription drugs containing life-threatening doses of fentanyl


The DEA has just issued its first public safety alert in six years following the distribution of fake prescription pills that actually contain deadly substances.

What’s alarming about these counterfeit drugs is how much they look like real drugs.

It’s almost impossible to tell the difference between pills that look like Oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall. But according to the DEA, there are fake pharmaceuticals that are made in a pill press to look like them and contain lethal doses of fentanyl and methamphetane.

“They are literally attacking such a vulnerable population,” says Linda Ventura. She knows the pain of losing a loved one to drugs. Her son, Thomas, died of an overdose in March 2012 at the age of 21. She says fake pills like this will lead to more deaths.

“It is heartbreaking for any member of the family who is going to have to join a club to which they should never belong,” said Ventura.

So far this year, the DEA has seized more than 9.5 million of these counterfeit pills – more than the past two years combined.

In 2020, more than 93,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, largely from fentanyl.

Steve Chassman, of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, says fentanyl test strips are available from his organization or at THRIVE community centers in Islandia and Westbury.

“If you are thinking of buying pharmaceuticals that you buy on the street, we encourage people to test those pharmaceuticals,” said Chassman.

Ventura’s group Thomas’ Hope also has the test strips. But she says the ultimate goal is to help people recover from drug use disorders.

“If you want help, contact us,” Ventura urges.

Pills containing fentanyl have already made their way to Long Island.

The Suffolk Police Department said it has already seized counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

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