In a sweep, the DEA confiscated 1.8 million counterfeit tablets laced with fentanyl.
In a statewide two-month assault on the illicit black market narcotics officials say are contributing to the nation’s overdose crisis, law enforcement investigators recovered more than 1.8 million counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and arrested 810 people.
During a press conference on Thursday, officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department announced the results of a nationwide law enforcement operation that began on Aug. 3. Agents seized 8,842 pounds of methamphetamines, 1,395 pounds of cocaine, and 1,570 pounds of fentanyl powder, enough to make 10 million pills, as well as 158 weapons, according to officials.
The number of fentanyl-laced pills seized during the operation, according to authorities, could have killed more than 700,000 Americans.
“Seizures like these alone will not solve this problem: we also need the public to be aware of the hazards posed by counterfeit pills,” said Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Last year, more than 93,000 individuals died in the United States from overdoses, the greatest number on record. Opioids were responsible for 75% of those deaths, with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid detected in the majority of the confiscated counterfeit tablets, being the primary driver.
“Nowhere is safe, from tiny towns to suburbs to rural counties,” she warned. “Nowhere in this country is safe from the epidemic of overdose deaths that is sweeping the country.”
The operation was announced just days after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued its first public safety alert in six years on Monday, warning Americans about a “alarming” increase in these pills being mass-produced by Mexican drug networks using chemicals sourced from China and flooding American streets.
The pills are made to look like prescription medicines like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Xanax, and others, and are marketed online through social media platforms like Facebook to profit from the opioid epidemic, according to the report.
“Synthetic opioids are particularly threatening to public safety because of their widespread use, low cost, and the way illicit drug networks disguise them as valid prescription pills,” she said.
They are not talking about actual medications prescribed by a doctor, according to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, but the drug cartels are selling and marketing them as if they were “the real thing.”
“And they aren’t,” she stated emphatically. “They aren’t being prescribed by a licensed physician, they’re… Article Summary from Nokia News