According to reporting from the Independent Record, four people died in Montana over the course of several days from counterfeit medicine containing fentanyl. Between January 17 and January 24, 2019, three individuals in Billings and one in Helena fatally overdosed. With these deaths, Montana is now the 30th state in which PSM has documented deaths caused by fake prescription pills made with fentanyl.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton issued a warning to the public about taking any prescription pills bought on the street. “Don’t be buying oxycodone or OxyContin from someone who is not a pharmacist.” Dutton added that “fentanyl will kill you.” Cascade County Sheriff/Coroner Jesse Slaughter also issued a warning to the citizens of his county. Slaughter said that counterfeit fentanyl pills could affect “Family members, children…” Slaughter pointed out the impact that fake fentanyl pills have on the public and law enforcement.
Slaughter stated that Cascade County reported four opioid overdose deaths in January. Police do not know at this time if fentanyl or counterfeit fentanyl pills played a role in any of those deaths. In an interview with KXLH, Dutton confirmed that counterfeit, fentanyl-laced oxycodone pills containing fentanyl killed three Billings residents. He stated that the black market was the source for those pills. “If you illegally bought some oxys, just because you have a habit, get rid of them,” said Dutton. “It’s not a hoax. Put it in our receptacle; we don’t track who comes in there.”
To date, the Partnership for Safe Medicines has documented counterfeit pills made with fentanyl having been found in 46 states with deaths in 30.