Officials have warned that a number of fake oxycodone tablets circulating in Mississippi may be associated with potentially fatal fentanyl.
Over the last few weeks, drug detectives at Gulfport's South Mississippi Police Department have taken several pills that are similar to the widely-used prescription opioid oxycodone.
Laboratory investigations by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) showed that the pills did not contain oxycodone but contained fentanyl. According to DEA, the synthetic drug can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. For most people, just two milligrams is a lethal dose.
The counterfeit pills were labeled with "A21
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania warned that people who illegally buy tablets that are believed to be oxycodone take the risk accidentally take a fatal fentanyl dose
let's emphasize that today that's what you expect to get is far away. They will die, "said Papania in a press conference on the counterfeit drugs, reports the Sun Herald.
" Drug traffickers will many times sell these pills That's not what they claim that drug users are not aware of what they actually buy. This type of counterfeit pill operation makes drug trafficking particularly dangerous, "the DEA said." The Gulfport Police Department and the US Drug Enforcement Administration are working diligently to identify the source of the fake pills. "
Derryle Smith, DEA Assistant Special Agent, said: "These types of heroin and fentanyl-related compounds are drugs made specifically to meet the demand of opiate addicts. Fentanyl is lethal in the microgram range. Make no mistake, misuse of Fentanyl will kill you! "
" A sweetener package contains two grams and that's deadly in the microgram range. You could kill several hundred people with that amount, "Smith told reporters at the press conference.
Papania said," Many people will be watching and their knee-jerk reaction will be. "Well, it's just another pill-head or addict What is the loss? The problem of opioid dependency facing our city and the rest of the nation is far-reaching, it interferes with our own families and friends, and we need to seriously deal with it. "
Die Warning comes from what experts called the opioid epidemic after opioid drugs were revised in the late 1990s, to more than two million by 2015. According to the National Institute on DrugAmuse, Americans were dependent on substances such as oxycodone.
In the 14 months following July 2016, emergency department visits for painkillers such as oxycodone and heroin and illegally-produced fentanyl were increased by 30 percent. The latest figures released by CDC show that the Midwest was hit hardest as the number Overdose treatment in emergency rooms has risen by 70 percent
Of the 63,600 people who died from drug overdoses in 2016, 20,000 cases were attributed to fentanyl and its analogues.