(KFOR NEWS July 13, 2022) OMAHA, Neb.–Investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Omaha Division seized approximately 32,000 fake pills in Omaha, some laced with lethal doses of fentanyl, in a two-day span beginning July 8th. During the first six months of 2022, DEA investigators seized approximately 151,500 pills in Nebraska, marking an 83% increase over the 82,775 pills seized in all of 2021.
“Fake pills, designed to look like legitimate prescription medications, are readily available on the streets of Nebraska,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King said. “No city or town, be it rural or urban, big or small, is immune to this substance. We want people to be aware of the dangers of taking these pills and other substances of unknown origin.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 time stronger than morphine. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, equivalent in size to 10 to 20 grains of salt, is considered a potentially lethal dose.
DEA lab testing reveals that four out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. Marketed as M30’s, Blues and Mexican Oxy, these pills are designed to look like prescription opioids including oxycodone (Oxycontin ®, Percocet ®), hydrocodone (Vicodin ®) and alprazolam (Adderall ®). In Nebraska, fake pills can sell for as low as $3 to $5 per pill, making the recent 32,000 pills seized worth an estimated $96,000-$160,000.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of death for Americans age 15-44 is drug overdose. The CDC estimates that more than 107,000 people died as a result of drug overdose in the United States during the 12-month period ending January 2022. Sixty-seven percent of overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
“Cartels are producing fake pills in mass quantity and social media continues to play a significant role in the upward trend of these potentially lethal drugs,” King said. They’re easy to purchase and easy to conceal. We need everyone to understand that taking just one fake pill can have deadly consequences.”
The DEA launched its One Pill Can Kill campaign in the fall of 2021 as a way to make people aware of the dangers of fake pills. For more information on the campaign, or to download photos of fake pills, please visit www.DEA.gov/OnePill or contact DEA Omaha Division Public Information Officer Emily Murray at [email protected].
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