The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warned the American public of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.
Pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous and potentially lethal. This alert does not apply to legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals and dispensed by pharmacists.
DEA and its law enforcement partners are seizing deadly fake pills at record rates. More than 9.5 million counterfeit pills were seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. Officials report a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose. The number of DEA-seized counterfeit pills with fentanyl has jumped nearly 430 percent since 2019, a staggering increase. DEA laboratory testing further reveals that today, two out of every five pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. Additionally, methamphetamine is increasingly being pressed into counterfeit pills.
Some of the most common counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and alprazolam (Xanax); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall). Fake prescription pills are widely accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including teens and young adults. These counterfeit pills have been seized by DEA in every U.S. state, and in unprecedented quantities.
Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid most commonly found in counterfeit pills, is the primary driver of this alarming increase in overdose deaths. The only safe medications are ones prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.
For more information, visit DEA.gov/onepill.