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DEA reports alarming increase in fake prescription pills

Counterfeit pills found in Wausau
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:09 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Drug Enforcement Agency reported an alarming increase in the availability of fake prescription pills.

2 out of every 5 pills tested by the DEA contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, according to the Wausau Police Department. Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that is to blame for the rise in overdose deaths.

In Wausau, 10 people have died this year alone because of a suspected overdose. Last year, in the city there were 5 opioid-related deaths.

“Because what we’ve experienced here is an increase in the number of overdose deaths that we’ve had. 140% from last year,” said Captain Ben Graham of the Wausau Police Department.

Captain Graham said a lethal dose of fentanyl is only 2 milligrams.

“It is the fentanyl and the heroin combination that is the cause of the overdoses that we are seeing in our community,” said Captain Graham.

He said the police department has found fake prescription pills during search warrants in the area. The problem is when a person takes a pill that is not prescribed by a pharmacist, then they don’t know exactly what they are getting.

In a Facebook on the Wausau PD’s page, they quote the DEA in saying, “The only safe medications are ones prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Any pills that do not meet this standard are unsafe and potentially deadly.”

Wausau police don’t know exactly where the counterfeit drugs come from, but they do say a lot of opioid-related drugs they confiscate come from Chicago, Milwaukee, or the Twin Cities.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, you can click here, or call 211 for the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline.

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