SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, four out of every 10 fake pills on the street today contains a lethal dose of fentanyl.
The DEA says that’s a 430 percent increase in just two years.
That sobering fact is not lost on Spring Hill drug agents, who have also seen an increase in the number of fentanyl laced fake pills hitting area streets.
“Between the heroin and the pressed pills it is a scary time,” a drug agent told News 2.
The Spring Hill officer said dealers are now pressing their own pills, meaning they are making counterfeit pills that have often been adulterated with other drugs and fentanyl.
“These have additions of fentanyl or other drugs pressed in a pill press, and those are the ones we see on overdoses quite a bit,” the agent said.
According to law enforcement, it’s all about money.
“Smaller amount of pills will turn out more product which is more money,” the agent said.
Agents say safety is always a top concern.
“Fentanyl is a scary thing. It can go airborne. If you look on youtube, you can see cases of officers doing their jobs and get introduced and they do overdose.”
According to a press release put out recently by the DEA, Mexican criminal drug networks are mass-producing illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-laced fake pills, using chemicals sourced largely from China, and are distributing these pills through U.S. criminal networks. These fake pills are designed to appear nearly identical to legitimate prescriptions such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Xanax and other medicines. Criminal drug networks are selling these pills through social media, e-commerce, the dark web and existing distribution networks.
The agent says Narcan is always nearby.
“You wanna make sure your narcan is prevalent and you have a lot of it. Some of the overdoses we’ve seen have taken 3 to 5 shots of narcan before they come around. Some of the users actually ask for the fentanly because it gives a different high. But it is like Russian Roulette. You don’t know if that’s the one that is going to kill you.”
According to the DEA agents have seized more than 9 million fake pills this year.
“Opioids were responsible for nearly three quarters of the more than 93,000 fatal drug overdoses in the United States in 2020,” said Deputy Attorney General Monaco.