Federal drug enforcers are warning about an alarming trend in drug overdose deaths tied to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.
“We can’t tell the difference on sight,” said Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcment Agency. “Has to go to one of our DEA labs where we can tell if this in fact is a counterfeit.”
Agents say children, teens and adults are ordering the drugs marketed as medicine like oxycodone through social media apps or the dark web, but some contain so much fentanyl that one pill can kill.
“People need to understand what fentanyl is, and that’s the primary driver of what’s killing people,” Forget said.
In Maryland, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford announced a change in strategy in the fight against overdose deaths, including grants and town hall meetings across the state, following a report showing an almost 6% increase in overdose deaths involving drugs and alcohol in the first quarter of this year.
“And so seeing the increase in deaths in our state, you know, it is alarming and it shows that we have a long way to go,” Rutherford said.
There is also concern that overdoses are happening more in the Black LGBTQ community.
Activist Kenya Hutton says there are deaths in D.C. because of this dangerous trend.
More resources are needed to help people who are already dealing with mental health, racial injustice, isolation because of the pandemic and other stresses, Hutton says.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia all have issued health alerts on this rise in deadly overdoses.