Fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl causing alarming number of overdoses, especially in Pa.


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A deadly drug trend is threatening public safety. Drug enforcement officials say fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl are killing people in alarming numbers.

The DEA issued a warning about the issue recently. The agency says people trying to illegally buy drugs like Xanax, Adderall, and Oxycotin are instead getting fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl.

That’s causing an alarming amount of overdoses, according to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “One pill can kill,” Monaco said.

Jessica Miller, an education and advocacy coordinator with the RASE Project, says it’s a serious problem. “It’s drastically killing tons of people,” Miller said. “When they get the pill it looks exactly like what they ordered, they take it and they overdose and die.”

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The DEA has seized millions of counterfeit pills, but those seizures aren’t enough to end the troubling trend. They also say 40% of the counterfeit pills that they seized had enough fentanyl to be deadly.

“We also need the public to understand the dangers posed by counterfeit pills,” Monaco said.

It’s especially dangerous among teens because the drugs are often sold through social media sites like Snapchat and TikTok.

“You can sit in your house in your room like teenagers often do and you can order these drugs online,” Miller said.

So far those in the drug recovery field in the Midstate say our area hasn’t seen many of these fake prescription overdoses.

“It’s just taking its time, it’s taking its progress and eventually it’s going to be here and it’s going to be a major problem,” Miller said.

Miller says now is the time for parents to have conversations with their kids before it’s too late.

“Talk to your kids. Talk to them about drugs. Talk to them about the worries of the internet. Monitor what you’re doing on the internet. Monitor any packages that are coming,” Miller said.

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