MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A growing problem is spreading in our region – fake prescription pills containing so much fentanyl they are killing people.
The Drug Enforcement Agency issues a public safety alert titled “One Pill Can Kill”.
The statewide special agent said that nationwide, the DEA has already seized 9.5 million fake pills this year.
Two in five contained enough fentanyl that one pill could kill you.
Chief Homeland Security Advisor Brian Dorow has been to the border for drug seizures.
“You know you’re taking that risk, assuming it’s a counterfeit pill, of putting your life at risk,” Dorow said.
The DEA warns those who use pain relievers to only get them at the drugstore.
“The frequency and potency of the pills have increased,” said John McGarry, deputy special agent in charge of the US DEA, Wisconsin. “And a lot of these pills are represented or look like Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Adderall, Xanax and Vicodin, but they are illicitly manufactured in Mexico and they contain large amounts of fentanyl or fentanyl analogues. . “
The fake pills may seem a bit unpleasant to a patient who has used the real pills in the past.
“Sometimes mistakes are made in the color or sometimes the shape, or there are imperfections,” McGarry said.
But for most of us, fake pain relievers can seem legitimate.
“These organizations buy pharmaceutical grade dyes to put into tablet machines and squeeze them with almost – generating these pills with almost the same authenticity as they would come from a local pharmacy,” McGarry said.
The DEA has recovered over 40 pounds of fentanyl in Wisconsin this year, which may not seem like a lot until you consider this:
“If two milligrams is one dosage unit and you reduce it to around 20,000 milligrams, that’s enough dosage units to be four times lethal for every Wisconsin citizen,” McGarry said.
Wisconsin has recorded more than 1,000 overdose deaths this year, many of which are related to fentanyl.