(Trends Wide) — The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a public safety alert on Monday for a sharp increase in counterfeit prescription pills containing a mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamine. This is the first alert of its kind issued by the DEA in six years.
According to the agency, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized this year, more than in the last two years combined.
In a press release, the agency said DEA laboratory tests revealed that there has also been a dramatic increase in pills containing at least 2 milligrams of the drug, which is considered a lethal dose.
Many of these drugs are produced by criminal drug gangs and networks and pose as prescription opioid medications like oxycodone or hydrocodone, or stimulants like Adderall. These pills are widely available online and are often sold through social media.
The DEA noted that China supplies chemicals for the manufacture of fentanyl in Mexico, and that the vast majority of counterfeit pills brought into the United States are produced in Mexico.
Record death from drug overdose
This alert comes at a time when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a record number of overdose deaths. In 2020, the CDC reported more than 93,000 overdose deaths, many of them related to synthetic and illicit opioids such as fentanyl.
“The United States is facing an unprecedented crisis of overdose deaths fueled by illegally manufactured fentanyl and methamphetamine,” DEA administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.
“The DEA is focusing its resources on ending the violent drug traffickers who cause the most harm and pose the greatest threat to the safety and health of Americans. Today we are alerting the public to this danger so that people have the information. she needs to protect herself and her children, “she added.