The dangers of fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl

Fake pills laced with fentanyl are becoming more deadly, DEA says

Many parents of teenagers are aware of the dangers of illegal drugs.

Teens are using devices that blend right into a bathroom counter or dresser drawer to hide drugs.

Something as simple as a hairbrush could actually be place to stash drugs.

Local 4 put a Canton Township mother of two to the test to see if she would be able to spot items with secret compartments.

More: Would you know if your kids were hiding drugs? We put a Metro Detroit mom to the test

Items that can be used to hide drugs. (WDIV)

Tracking opioid overdose data

Data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows just how dangerous illegal drugs have become.

Health officials reported 2,738 overdose deaths in the state in 2020. They reported 3,096 overdose deaths in 2021, and 1,718 overdose deaths between January and August 2022.

The state also shares the number of nonfatal overdose emergency department visits in Michigan. There were 32,543 nonfatal incidents in 2019. There were 30,582 in 2020, and there were 30,920 between January and August 2022.

There were a total of 7,996 overdose medical emergencies in 2022 in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties combined.

  • Wayne County: 5,313
  • Macomb County: 1,329
  • Oakland County: 1,354

Those numbers only reflect EMS calls in 2022 for overdoses. In just Oakland and Macomb counties combined, EMS respond to an average of 22 calls every single day for drug overdoses. The data does not indicate how many people survived the emergencies.

Read: Substance use disorder resource guide: How to find treatment, harm reduction services in Michigan

DEA finds increase in deadliness of fake pills laced with fentanyl

There has been a sharp nationwide increase in the deadliness of fake prescription pills that have been laced with fentanyl, according to the DEA.

The fake prescription pills are designed to look just like the real prescription medication. The DEA found that of the fentanyl-laced pills analyzed in 2022, six out of 10 contained what the DEA deems a “potentially lethal” dose of fentanyl.

According to the CDC, most cases of fentanyl-related overdoses are linked to illegally manufactured fentanyl. The drug is distributed through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect.

“It is often added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous,” the CDC said.

The DEA considers just 2 milligrams of fentanyl to be a potentially deadly dose. The lethality depends on a person’s body size and tolerance.

Read: Can you overdose just by touching fentanyl? Many health experts say no

About the Author:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.