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DEA warns parents about counterfeit pills in Nebraska before school starts

10/11 NOW spoke with the DEA Omaha Division, and they said counterfeit drugs are becoming a...
10/11 NOW spoke with the DEA Omaha Division, and they said counterfeit drugs are becoming a concern in the state, and they're trying their best to keep these drugs out of schools. Credit: DEA Omaha Division(DEA Omaha Division)
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 7:46 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As students across Nebraska return to the classroom, the DEA is warning families of counterfeit pills entering the state.

10/11 NOW spoke with the DEA Omaha Division and learned counterfeit drugs are becoming a concern in the state, which is why agents say they’re trying their best to keep these drugs out of schools.

Between 2019 and 2020, the CDC reported nearly a 30-percent increase in drug overdose deaths. In 2020 alone, nearly 61-percent of deaths involved synthetic opioids including fentanyl. These counterfeit pills are normally disguised as coming from a pharmacy, but can contain lethal doses of fentanyl.

“I’ve seen enough families that have lost their children or have had somebody with drug addiction,” said special agent of the DEA Omaha Division, Justin King, “I’d say these are some of the most important conversations you can have and you need to be willing to have those conversations while having an open environment that allows that free conversation.”

The DEA said there’s been an uptick in people using counterfeit drugs in bigger cities like Omaha and Lincoln. In Nebraska, pill seizures have increased 229-percent from 2017 to 2020, according to the DEA Omaha Division.

As these pills hit the market, the DEA is asking parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of drugs before school begins in the coming weeks.

“Parents really need to take this seriously and they need to understand that these conversations need to be had. Children even as young as 6th or 7th grade need to be talked to and letting them know the dangers of drugs. Just because someone says something might be safe, that’s not necessarily the case,” said King.

The DEA explained that having a conversation with your kids about drug safety can be the conversation that saves their life.

The DEA Omaha Division wanted to thank the parents and educators for pushing the message of a clean and healthy lifestyle. You can find resources on drug safety here and tips for talking with family members about drug usage here.

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