As reported by The Buffalo News, New York state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has warned residents that authorities found fentanyl pills made to look like prescription opioid painkillers for the first time in western New York. Investigators with New York’s Organized Crime Task Force intercepted a shipment of approximately 500 pills made to look like oxycodone but contained fentanyl. Initial tests showed that the pills contained inconsistent amounts of the illicit substance. Some of the pills contained enough fentanyl to get someone high while others contained enough to kill a person. Authorities said several recent overdosed in California involved similar pills.
With the ongoing opioid crisis, authorities worry about people buying pills on the street that they think are legitimate, safe prescription opioids when in fact they face the same dangers as if they were doing heroin. WIVB News 4 Buffalo quoted Schneiderman as saying, “These dealers were playing Russian Roulette with the lives of New Yorkers. These poison pills are the latest troubling development in our state’s opioid crisis. I want to warn strongly against taking any prescription drugs you did not get directly from the pharmacy yourself. A single fentanyl-laced pill can kill you. Please be safe and stay vigilant.”
Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz echoed Schneiderman’s warning: “If you’re out there buying drugs on the street, don’t. These pills can be killers.” Public health officials blame illicit fentanyl for the dramatic rise in fatal opioid overdoses around the nation. Erie County Health Department Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein confirmed that 93 of the 112 confirmed fatal opioid overdoses so far in 2017 involved fentanyl.
New York is just one of the many states where PSM has found evidence of the discovery counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.