Federal officials are warning the public to look out for counterfeit prescription pills that could be deadly.
“We want to make sure that individuals aren’t taking counterfeit pills that may be mixed with something especially extreme as fentanyl. We know small doses of fentanyl is potentially lethal for individuals,” explained TFC Christine Jeltema of the Connecticut State Police.
The DEA says it takes about 2 milligrams of fentanyl to kill you. That could be lurking in what looks like a prescription pill.
Connecticut State Police is urging residents to take the DEA’s warning about counterfeit prescription pills from Mexico containing the dangerous synthetic opioid seriously.
“We just ask that individuals whatever pills they get come from a legitimate pharmacy, they’re prescribed to them by a licensed professional doctor, and they’re taking them for what they’re diagnosed for,” Jeltema said.
Peter Canning at UConn John Dempsey Hospital says counterfeit pills like the ones described by the DEA on Monday are usually a mixture of fentanyl and a cutting agent to dilute it.
“Fentanyl laced counterfeit pills are a major problem in Connecticut. We don’t know the extent yet but we know that they’re out there and we know that people are overdosing on them,” he explained.
The most dangerous part about purchasing pills on the street or online outlets is really you don’t know what you’re getting.
“Somebody can have these pills and think they look just like regular pills. And people can go on the dark net and they can have make prescription labels made for them. If you go to their house and pick up a pill bottle in the bathroom and it’ll look completely legitimate but rather than oxycodone, it’s fentanyl,” Canning said.
Canning helped create a statewide program known as SWORD that tracks overdoses across the state in real time.
He says that through the program, they’ve seen cases in New Haven, Hartford, Farmington and Litchfield counties of people who have overdosed when they thought they were taking Xanax that turned out to contain fentanyl.