The Cecil Whig continues to provide important reporting about drug crimes as well as hopeful news items about our community efforts to reverse and reduce substance use disorder (drug addiction) among our families and neighbors. A new threat, however, is emerging in Cecil County and throughout Maryland that is under-reported by most media outlets. This new scourge is the alarming increase in fake prescription pills that contain the lethal amounts of opioid fentanyl and methamphetamine.

On September 27th, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued a rare “Public Safety Alert” that details the influx of these counterfeit pills. These fake pills look exactly like much-used opioids like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Xanax. The stimulant Adderall fake pills often have fatal doses of meth.

Most of the pills are produced in Mexico from chemicals from China. Worst of all, these killer pills are marketed on social media, available to people of all ages.

The DEA has seized more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills so far this year. Two out of every five pills seized contain enough fentanyl to cause a fatal overdose. I encourage everyone to word search “One Pill Can Kill,” DEA’s new public awareness campaign. It is scary how much the fake pills look like the legitimate prescription drugs.

I work part-time as a peer recovery specialist at Voices of Hope in Elkton. More than a few of the people who come to us for help admit to using benzos, pills that supposedly are opioids, anti-depressants, and other medications. Every time I hear their stories, I pray that they’re not buying and using these counterfeit death pills.

Don Mathis

Havre de Grace, MD

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