A review of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Ohio is one of the states that has been hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The state averages more than 14 overdose deaths each day, and those deaths account for 4.3 percent of all deaths in the state. Due to incomplete reporting, there is a high likelihood that the true number is underreported. One of the driving forces in the opioid epidemic is fentanyl, and it isn’t just being put into illicit drugs. As The Columbus Dispatch reported, fentanyl is increasingly being found in counterfeit medicines being sold on the street.
Ernest Boyd, the executive director of the Ohio Pharmacists Association, spoke with reporters during an event at the organization’s annual conference, offering advice to pharmacists as well as stressing the importance of people only taking medications prescribed to them by their doctor and purchased from a legitimate pharmacy. In reference to how real the fake medicines being sold on the streets of Ohio look, Boyd said, “It’s insane this is going on, but the tablets look like what we sell in the pharmacies. So we caution Ohioans to be very careful with this.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said that counterfeit medicines are produced with no quality control, which means that no one can ever be sure what or how much they are taking. “This is just another example of the complexities of the opioid epidemic,” DeWine said. “The counterfeit pills we’ve seen in our labs have been laced with fentanyl, meth or other drugs and are extremely dangerous.”