The Drug Enforcement Administration released a public safety alert about an increase in the number of fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine.
The DEA said it seized over 9.5 million bogus pills this year. Lab tests show a sharp increase in pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, considered a lethal dose.
“The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths fueled by illegally manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine,” said Anne Milgram, DEA administrator, in a statement. “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.”
The warning comes amid CDC reports of a record number of deaths caused by drug overdoses.
Officials say gangs and criminal drug networks make the fake drugs look like prescription opioids like oxycodone or stimulants like Adderall. According to the DEA, China supplies chemicals for fentanyl manufacturing in Mexico — and that’s the origin of the bulk of counterfeit pills found in the US.
“Today, we are alerting the public to this danger so that people have the information they need to protect themselves and their children,” Milgram said.