DEA warns public of lethal fentanyl-laced pills in state
The Drug Enforcement Administration warns the public of a deadly opioid disguised as prescription pain pills.
The drugs are making their to Louisiana through Mexican drug cartels.
“They’re gonna resemble prescription pain medication. A lot of them resemble the oxycodone. The same stamp, the same size,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley said.
He said the agency is cracking down on counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, which are making their way to the state from the southern border.
“These pills are being produced by the Mexican cartel, they’re coming across the border, they’re coming into Texas, and then they’re predominantly making their way into the State of Louisiana,” Byerley said.
These pills may have the markings of prescription pain pills, but what they contain is much more sinister.
“They’re heroin, or they’re straight up fentanyl, or they’re a combination of the heroin or fentanyl that’s being pressed into pills and that’s being sold on the street to resemble pain medication,” Byerley said.
He said what’s so dangerous about these laced pills is that just two milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly.
“In pills that were seized from January to March of 2019, 27% of those pills had a lethal dose of fentanyl in them,” Byerley said.
Those with the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse said they’re also keeping an eye out for fentanyl because of it’s lethal potency.
“We’re always concerned about fentanyl being introduced into drug supplies, and we would really recommend against anyone obtaining prescription pills in illegal routes, on the street, you can’t trust the source,” CADA Prevention Director Lindsey Prevost said.
Another concern is kids getting their hands on the synthetic opioid.
“In different places in the country there have been instances of young children getting their hands on it, thinking it’s candy and it’s incredibly dangerous, especially the smaller someone is, the more fragile they are, the more likely they’ll have dire consequences,” Prevost said.
According to the DEA, in Orleans Parish last year, over 200 people died from drug overdose, and half of those were from fentanyl.
“I think it touches just about everyone in the city, whether they realize it or not,” Prevost said
“It’s here, we’re seeing it, we’re seizing it, and we’re actually going after the drug traffickers that are pushing this stuff on the streets,” Byerley said.
He said the department has already seized several thousand illicit pills in the state.