Feds warn of sharp increase in fake prescription pills containing fentanyl, meth

A logo reading DEA Special Agent is pictured in the Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on May 29, 2019 in New York City. Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

SAN DIEGO — Federal drug officials are warning that the country is being flooded with lethal counterfeit pills — many containing fentanyl and methamphetamine — which is leading to a surge in overdose deaths.

Drug Enforcement Administration officials say the nation is facing an “unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths” — more than 93,000 last year — that are being fueled by illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine.

“Counterfeit pills that contain these dangerous and extremely addictive drugs are more lethal and more accessible than ever before,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement released earlier this week. “DEA is focusing resources on taking down the violent drug traffickers causing the greatest harm and posing the greatest threat to the safety and health of Americans. Today, we are alerting the public to this danger so that people have the information they need to protect themselves and their children.”

So far this year, the DEA has seized more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills in the U.S. — more than it seized over the last two years combined. Two out of every five fake pills analyzed in DEA labs are found to contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.

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