Fentanyl pills being sold as other painkillers
Experts across the United States reported that they are disguising a powerful and potentially deadly painkiller known as fentanyl as a weaker drugs like oxycodone.
In recent months, Tennessee officials said that they have seen two dozen cases of pills which were marked as the less potent opiates; oxycodone or Percocet, turned out to include fentanyl, a far more powerful drug, according to the Associated Press. Last summer, San Francisco health department members exhibited several overdoses which were due to fentanyl that looked like Xanax. Moreover, Federal authorities arrested a man in Cleveland after seizing more than 900 pills containing fentanyl that were marked as oxycodone tablets. However, Canada has issued warnings about oxycodone pills that having fentanyl.
According to Carole Rendon, acting U.S. attorney in Cleveland, "These pills are truly a fatal overdose waiting to happen." She explained, fentanyl is cheaper to manufacture illegally, drugs dealers see a chance to make more money by disguising it as oxycodone, which typically can sell for more.
In accordance to Dr. Thomas Gilson, Cuyahoga County medical examiner "People might otherwise say, 'I know I can abuse this much of oxycodone,' and they may be in for a really, really bad surprise when they find out that's fentanyl and not oxycodone." He said that in January these pills led to county's 19 fentanyl-related overdose deaths.
The drug, Fentanyl is typically used for treatment of chronic pain in last-stage cancer patients and it is 25 to 40 times more powerful than heroin. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that across the U.S., more than 700 fentanyl-related overdose deaths were reported between late 2013 and early 2015.
"The fact that fentanyl has been found in this form should hopefully make people nervous that do abuse these types of opiate pills, that they could be getting their hands on something even more lethal," said Rich Isaacson, DEA spokesman.