April 3, 2023: FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan sales

This week: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued over-the-counter approval for the opioid-overdose reversal drug, naloxone. U.S. Congress is crafting legislation to regulate xylazine. A San Jose Police Officers’ Association executive was charged with illegally importing a fentanyl analogue and prescription pills containing controlled substances. News about prosecutions, pill seizures and deaths in 15 U.S. states.

National news: FDA approves Narcan OTC, Congress seeks to regulate xylazine, Parent advocates speak in Virginia and Texas

FDA approved Narcan for over-the-counter sales on March 29th.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan, a naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses, for over-the-counter use. It's the first naloxone product available in the U.S. without a prescription.

Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Chuck Grassley introduced legislation that would make xylazine a controlled substance. The Drug Enforcement Administration recently issued a public safety alert warning that the dangerous non-opioid sedative is increasingly being mixed into fentanyl pills and powder.

Parent advocates in Lynchburg, Virginia and Houston, Texas spoke about the deaths of their children from counterfeit pills.

Prosecutions: Police officers’ union executive arrested for importing prescription pills; additional pill press and fentanyl pill cases

The executive director of San Jose, California’s Police Officers’ Association was charged with attempted importation of valeryl fentanyl in March 2023. Court documents allege that she was also part of a drug trafficking network, receiving at least 61 shipments of controlled medicines such as tramadol and tapentadol from countries that included China, Hungary, India and Singapore, over the last eight years.

Multnomah County prosecutors in Oregon have begun charging accused counterfeit pill sellers with trademark counterfeiting, a novel strategy that can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

A federal court in Seattle, Washington sentenced Santos Gutierrez-Fosella to 10 years for armed drug trafficking. Gutierrez-Fosella was arrested March 14, 2022 with more than 89,000 fentanyl pills, two kilos of meth and five loaded guns, one of which a ghost gun.

Other people were charged with selling counterfeit pills that killed people in Denver, Colorado and Wichita Falls, Kansas.

Drugs law enforcement seized at Gutierrez-Fosella's arrest in Mount Vernon, Washington in March 2022.

Seizures - 650,000 fentanyl pills and two pill presses seized in Washington; fentanyl pills in 11 more states

A two-year federal investigation led to the arrest of 24 members of a drug-trafficking operation that moved drugs from Mexico throughout Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. The defendants, who lived in Arizona and Washington, are alleged to have ties to a white supremacist prison gang. Federal agents seized 650,000 fentanyl pills, two pill presses and over 200 pounds of methamphetamine over the course of the investigation.

Rango helped the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Officers find approximately 80,000 blue “M30” pills suspected to be fentanyl.

A man in Sunset, Louisiana was arrested after the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Team found pill presses, counterfeit pills, and more than five pounds of suspected fentanyl in his home.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided two homes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, seizing almost 100,000 fentanyl pills, 16 pounds of methamphetamine, and weapons.

A police dog named Rango helped the San Joaquin County Sheriffs find approximately 80,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop in Ripon, California.

A woman from Powell, Wyoming is facing multiple charges after authorities seized 10,000 fentanyl pills that were being shipped to her.

Police detectives in Colorado Springs, Colorado recovered more than 4,000 fentanyl pills along with other drugs during a sting operation. Three people were arrested.

Fentanyl pill seizures also happened in Florence and Mobile, Alabama; Hutchinson and Salina, Kansas;  Minneapolis, Minnesota; Belton, Missouri; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Marysville, Washington.

International News: life-threatening bacteria in India-manufactured cancer drug; U.K. deaths due to unregulated online pharmacies; India revokes pharma licenses

The World Health Organization has issued a warning about cancer infusion medication contaminated with pseudomonas aeruginosa that was produced by Celon Labs. The contaminated medicines have caused life-threatening infections in Lebanon and Yemen.

An article in the Journal Of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society reported on British residents who died as a result of medications sold by online pharmacies.

Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority reported that it seized almost a million counterfeit doses of fake and illegal medicines in 2022.

An investigation into cough syrup deaths in Uzbekistan led to India’s Drugs Controller General inspecting 78 pharmaceutical companies and revoking the licenses of 18 for manufacturing counterfeit medicines.

India is cracking down on drug manufacturers after exported cough medicine killed hundreds of kids.