At least four people overdosed and one died after taking counterfeit oxycodone pills in Pasco County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday.
The whitish pills with “M” on one side and “30” on the other look like 30 mg tablets of oxycodone, the active ingredient in Oxycontin. Deputies said that they instead contain lethal amounts of fentanyl. Experts say fentanyl is an opioid which is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine.
Deupties said the pills are being sold in the Hudson, Florida and Holiday, Florida areas. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office reminded readers with a Facebook post to only take prescription medications prescribed by a doctor and provided by a pharmacy.
The Alaska Department of Public Safety warned about similar fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl in April. These pills were blue with an M30 marking.
15 people had overdosed on fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl in Williamson County, Texas in April as of April 17. These pills were blue, round and had the letter M on one side.
Austin police said in April that five recent overdose deaths may have been linked to counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl.
KPIX 5 reported in April that fake 30 mg oxycodone pills containing fentanyl are highly prevalent in Santa Clara County, California.
Police in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada warned in April of their concern about fake oxycodone and fake Percocet pills containing fentanyl.
The February 2019 warning described the seizure of 20,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills in New York. These pills were blue and stamped “M30.” The DEA said they believed the pills originated in Mexico and that black market 30 mg oxycodone pills can sell for up to $30 per pill on the street.
The November 2019 warning said that Mexican drug cartels are making large quantities of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, saying that fentanyl overdoses had been spiking in past weeks in the county.
“Along the Front Range of Colorado, most of the fentanyl encountered comes from Mexican sources and is in the form of counterfeit oxycodone pills,” said the DEA’s Deanne Reuter. “Western Colorado has experienced a disproportionate number of overdose deaths caused by fentanyl pills coming from Mexican sources. Fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills are directly linked to at least 10 overdose deaths in western Colorado.”
“We’re seeing that the Mexican drug cartel are actually taking fentanyl and making pills to resemble to include the stamps, the color of the Oxycontin,” said the DEA’s David Zon.