Fake prescription pills blamed in deaths seen in Lancaster County, DA warns


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Fake prescriptions pills blamed for four fatal overdoses in a day in San Diego County, California have made their way to other parts of the country, including Lancaster County, authorities said.

The pressed tablets are made of pure fentanyl but look like prescription medications, often Oxycodone or Percocet.

“I don’t think there’s any way for a non-expert to tell that they’re not the regular prescriptions,” Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said.

Stedman said similar pills have turned up in the county, starting more than a year ago. Authorities said felony charges were filed in May regarding a sale of the pills that caused a Warwick Township man’s death.


At least one other pending death investigation in the county involved pressed fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is so potent, a small grain of it, if you don’t have the tolerance, could kill you,” Stedman said.

The district attorney’s office said local officials have not noticed a recent spike. The pills have been found in isolated incidents and locations over the past year or so.

Stedman said the problem could get worse as doctors continue to crack down on prescribing prescription pain medications. He said those addicted to pain medications could search for alternatives and find this deadly drug.

“People are unsuspectingly taking what they think is not that potent and it’s deadly,” he said.

The DEA has also warned that some of the counterfeit pills contain carfentanil, a synthetic opioid said to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Just two milligrams of carfentanil can be lethal.

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