ABC Action News reported on an urgent warning from officials in northeast Ohio to anyone buying pills on the street. Counterfeit oxycodone pills have been popping up in the area and have already proven themselves to be deadly. According to Douglas Rohde, Supervisor of Chemistry and Toxicology at the Lake County Crime Lab, “This is something new and once again very dangerous.” In just the past six months, the lab has seen a 50 percent spike in cases involving fentanyl.
Long gone are the days of being able to tell a fake pill just by looking at it. Criminals use pill presses to make their own pills that are so good that Rohde said, “If you put them side-by-side, you would not be able to tell the difference.” Analyses of pills by chemists at the Lake County Crime Lab have found pills made with innocuous substances like sugar or acetaminophen, but they have also found pills made with fentanyl and carfentanil. Officials warned that only pills purchased directly at a licensed U.S. pharmacy should be considered safe. Rodhe said, “We’re warning drug addicts, if you think you are buying oxycodone off the streets, there is a very good chance you are not, and you are purchasing something that could be deadly.”
Rodhe’s warning strongly echoes the sentiments said earlier this year from the Ohio Pharmacists Association. In April, executive director Ernest 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.” Fentanyl and counterfeit pills made with fentanyl have been devastating communities across the state. Down in Franklin County, WSYX in Columbus reported on 18 overdose deaths in the span of just one week. The county coroner’s office warned the public that fentanyl is not only in heroin anymore. It can be found in almost any drug, including counterfeit pills being sold on the streets.
You can learn more about counterfeit drug incidents that have happened in Ohio by reading PSM’s 2018 Infosheet.