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The Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, and other U.S. law enforcement agencies face a growing challenge in preventing street opioids, or counterfeit opioids, from pouring into the U.S. from Mexico, China and Canada.
Fentanyl is an opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin. Although fentanyl is used in medical settings to treat chronic, severe pain, it is also showing up on streets around the country.
Exposure to even trace amounts of fentanyl can cause overdose and even death. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit opioids containing fentanyl are illegally flowing into the United States from other countries.
Many people take counterfeit opioids thinking they are taking oxycodone, unaware that they are consuming lethal amounts of fentanyl.
Counterfeit medicine is fake medicine that may be contaminated. It may contain the wrong active ingredient or have the right one in an incorrect quantity. Some counterfeit drugs may not contain any active ingredient.
Counterfeit medicine is illegal and may be harmful to your health. As fake pills closely resemble their genuine counterparts, many consumers believe them to be legitimate medications.
Fake oxycodone and other counterfeit pills may be formulated incorrectly, and they are often:
Approximately 80% of counterfeit drugs come from overseas, and many are manufactured in Mexico, India and China.
Counterfeit opioids are pills made by spurious organizations. These fake pills are stolen, not prescribed or resold from verified pharmaceutical companies. In essence, counterfeit opioids are made to look like genuine prescription medications.
In 2018, the DEA seized record amounts of fentanyl pouring in the U.S. from across the Mexican border and contributing to the existing opioid epidemic. Counterfeit medications represented a significant portion of the capture.
The dangers of street opioids are multifold:
To protect yourself against counterfeit opioids:
Lower your risk of consuming counterfeit opioids by purchasing your medication from a registered pharmacy. Always talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have concerns about a medicine you are buying.
If you need help recovering from opioid addiction or are considering methadone maintenance, know that Health Care Resource Centers can help. Find an HCRC clinic near you or contact us online to learn more about the risks of fake oxycodone and counterfeit opioids.
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