Fake pills are ravaging communities across the U.S.

Counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl.
(Source: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California)

What began in 2015 as an outbreak of counterfeit opioid painkillers and Xanax that contained potentially deadly doses of fentanyl or fentanyl analogues has spread to all 50 states, and has killed residents in all of them.

Illegal pill presses have given drug counterfeiters the ability to adapt.

In 2020, they expanded their offerings with pills mimicking Adderall, Aleve, aspirin and even the diabetes drug metformin, and new, dangerous ingredients such as methamphetamine, isotonitazene, clonazolam and etizolam. The fake pill trade has become such a crisis that in September 2021, the DEA issued a public safety alert to warn Americans about them.

Mexican drug cartels smuggle millions of these pills over the border, but the U.S. also has homegrown traffickers who import ingredients and pill presses from China and manufacture their own deadly pills.

PSM Resources about the Counterfeit Pill Crisis

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