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Deadly counterfeit pills cause surge in overdoses, authorities say



(Photo by Karolina Grabowska)

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics are issuing warnings about large numbers of fake pills being distributed and causing overdose issues and death. Large numbers of bogus OxyContin, Adderall and Xanax look-alike drugs are flooding the market.

“Counterfeit pills purchased online or through social media websites pose a serious public health and safety hazard,” the DEA said in a news release Friday.  “These pills may contain the wrong ingredients, contain too little, too much, or no active ingredient at all, or contain other, potentially life-threatening hidden ingredients, such as fentanyl or methamphetamine.”

Authorities recently seized a pill press in Jackson, a device used to create pills from virtually any material that look like a normal prescription pill.

“But the problem is what they’re getting is not that pill they think they’re getting,” Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said. “It’s a counterfeit pill and it’s full of drugs that if they take it, even just one, it can result in an overdose death.”

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine but 100 times stronger.  As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly.  DEA lab analysis revealed that 26% of the pills tested contained a lethal dose of fentanyl.

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics has documented at least 10 deaths in the state of Mississippi this year related to substances of this kind.

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Vicksburg Daily News