Public Health Seattle and King County announced that the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory tests revealed a batch of pills that looked to be oxycodone were actually counterfeit pills made with fentanyl. These pills were found on a person who died from what police believe was a fentanyl overdose. Toxicology test results are pending.
The potential for an increase in fentanyl in the region has public health officials concerned. Fentanyl is responsible for the dramatic increase in overdose deaths in communities around the country. In the statement, Public Health Seattle and King County officials stressed that the community needs to be aware that fentanyl is there and may be hidden in pills as well as other illicit drugs. Dr. Jeff Duchin of Public Health Seattle & King County said, “Markings on these pills looked like those typically found on some oxycodone pills, so a user may think they are taking oxycodone when in fact, the pills are counterfeit and contain fentanyl.”
Fentanyl is worrisome because it has no smell or taste. Officials stressed that the counterfeit “kill pills” might look like legitimate prescription pills, but a visual inspection will not detect if the pills contain fentanyl or not. The amount of fentanyl in each fake pill may vary, even within pills from the same batch. While three pills might not kill someone, the next three just might. Public Health Seattle & King County created a flyer warning the public about the discovery of the counterfeit pills containing fentanyl in the area. It can be viewed here.
Washington is just one of the 40 states in the U.S. where PSM has confirmed the presence of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.