DETROIT — The Drug Enforcement Administration is alerting the public to beware of fake prescription pills killing Americans.
Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl for distribution throughout North America, according to the DEA.
“Their poisonous pills are made so well, it takes a chemist to determine if a pill is laced with fentanyl or not,” said DEA Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. “What one may think is a legal and pharmacy-produced pill can actually be a lethal dose of fentanyl.
“This is an urgent public health situation that touches every corner of our community.”
A lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams, but can vary based on an individual’s body size, tolerance, amount of previous usage and other factors.
The DEA found that 27 percent of a sample of pills seized nationwide between January and March contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.
“Counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin are responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States each year,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.