An investigation into drugs being sent through the postal system by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service led to a traffic stop in Elgin, Illinois, charges against a 28-year-old Hoffman Estates man, and the seizure of multiple pounds of fake prescription pills, including over two pounds of counterfeit Adderall that tested positive for methamphetamine. With this announcement, Illinois has become the 20th state where the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) has documented that fake Adderall has been seized.
PSM began tracking the issue of counterfeit Adderall pills in September 2018. To date, the vast majority of these fake pills tested positive for methamphetamine, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies as a highly addictive stimulant. Medical science has found ways to reverse overdoses and stop cravings through the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for patients suffering from opioid-based substance abuse disorder, but those breakthroughs have not yet been made for individuals who abuse methamphetamine.
There are counterfeit pill producers in the U.S. but federal intelligence has shown that many of these fake Adderall pills are coming from Mexico. Mexican cartels have been producing methamphetamine at an industrial scale for years and started to make counterfeit pills containing fentanyl in response to the opioid crisis. All they needed to do was get different dies for the pill presses they already owned to sell their addictive methamphetamine in a form that many people automatically trust: a pill.
In April 2021, PSM and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators updated our pill press report. As counterfeiters diversify the pills they fake, our warning that the pill presses would continue to be used as a vehicle for future counterfeit drug production has been proven correct.