New Report Shows Widespread and Deadly Impact of Illegally-Imported Fentanyl

Partnership for Safe Medicines Analysis Confirms Discovery of Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Made with Fentanyl in 43 States, Deaths in 22 States

Washington (April 10, 2018) – A new report released today by The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) illustrates the growing and deadly toll that illegally-imported fentanyl is having on communities throughout the United States. PSM’s analysis confirms reports of counterfeit medicines made with fentanyl in 43 states, with fentanyl-related deaths confirmed in 22 states. The updated findings follow a report released by PSM last September that found a presence of counterfeit medicines containing fentanyl in 40 states and related deaths in 16 states.


“This updated report shows that the illegally-imported fentanyl problem is getting worse by the day,” said Dr. Marvin Shepherd, chairman of the PSM Board and former director of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy.

“The increased number of deaths linked to counterfeit fentanyl pills speaks to the widespread dangers of this illegal drug trade on individuals, families and law enforcement agencies across the country,” Shepherd said following a forum that PSM hosted on Capitol Hill. “A global drug crisis has taken root in our own backyards – the need for action has never been more urgent.”


The epidemic remains a top priority for the federal government – with President Trump declaring the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) continues its vigilant work uncovering criminal activity related to fentanyl-laced counterfeit drugs and other dangerous substances. In March, federal agents indicted 75 individuals for distributing large quantities of illegal drugs, including illicit fentanyl, throughout the U.S. for the Mexican-based Sinaloa drug cartel.


Canada is also experiencing a fentanyl crisis. In one instance in July 2017, authorities in Edmonton, Alberta, seized 130,000 counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data in late December that revealed more than 42,000 individuals died of an opioid-related overdose in 2016. PSM’s new report and the data from the CDC both demonstrate the need for continued, concentrated efforts to keep counterfeit drugs made with fentanyl out of the U.S.


You can access PSM’s full report here.


About the Partnership for Safe Medicines

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is a public health group comprised of nearly 70 non-profit organizations that are committed to the safety of prescription drugs and protecting consumers against counterfeit, substandard or otherwise unsafe medicines. To learn more, visit



Farheena Mustafa
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