The Gillette News Record reported the first publicly known instance of a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl poisoning a resident in Wyoming. Ethan Herrera and Makala Butz, both 21-years-old and from Worland, face felony charges for selling the counterfeit oxycodone pills that caused a non-fatal overdose in an area resident. An affidavit filed in court stated: “If not for the actions of family and first responders, (the victim) would most likely have died as a result of the overdose.”
Upon finding their family member unresponsive on August 31, 2018, the family called for emergency services, with one relative performing CPR while waiting for their arrival. After emergency services stabilized the victim, she told police that she purchased several pills that she thought were oxycodone from Herrera and Butz. Police sent the remaining pills to the Wyoming State Crime Lab for testing. The results showed the pills were counterfeits made with fentanyl.
Washakie County Attorney John Worrall said, “This stuff is as dangerous as it comes. The victim bought what she thought was oxycodone, it was even stamped as oxycodone, but what she got was the equivalent of 100 doses of morphine.” Earlier this year, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams encouraged more Americans to carry naloxone to help prevent more deaths from opioid overdoses. According to USA Today, 41 states allow the sale of naloxone without a prescription, and Walgreens offers naloxone without a prescription in 45 states plus the District of Columbia.
At this time, PSM has documented counterfeit pills made with fentanyl being found in 45 states. The only states in which there have been no confirmed cases of fake pills made with fentanyl are Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Delaware, and Hawaii.