Increase in overdoses linked to fentanyl seen in Union County
At Monday’s Union County Council meeting, EMS Director Eric Harold stated that one of the reasons behind the heavier call volume that EMS has responded to this year is the increase in overdoses. Many of these are from fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl. According to a fact sheet published by the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to fool the public. The pills often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and they can be deadly. The fake pills are easily accessible and are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, expanding their availability to anyone with a smartphone, including teens and young adults. Many of the fake pills are made to look like prescription opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Xanax; or stimulants like Adderall.
The DEA and law enforcement partners have already seized more than 9.6 million counterfeit pills this year, which is more than the previous two years combined. The number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl has jumped nearly 430% since 2019. Officials report a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least 2 mg of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose. According to DEA lab testing, 2 out of every 5 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. The CDC reports more than 93,000 people died last year of an overdose in the US, the highest ever recorded.
Sheriff Jeff Bailey was on the morning show Wednesday with Chris Woodson, and he commented on the problem locally:
(audio below story)
The only safe medications are ones that come from licensed and accredited medical professionals. The DEA warns that pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous, and potentially lethal.