‘It’s playing a game of Russian roulette’: Nebraska DEA warns of fentanyl-laced pills

‘It’s playing a game of Russian roulette’: Nebraska DEA warns of fentanyl-laced pills
‘It’s playing a game of Russian roulette’: Nebraska DEA warns of fentanyl-laced pills(Ellis Wiltsey)
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In recent days the Drug Enforcement Agency seized 32,000 fake pills in Nebraska. Those pills are meant to look like legitimate prescriptions for things like oxycodone or Xanax.

The DEA said they’re not just concerned about the fake pills, they’re concerned about what’s turning up in them - fentanyl.

DEA lab testing now shows that four out of every 10 pills that they are finding fentanyl in, contain a potentially lethal dose.

They said it’s a toss-up if a person who is taking those pills knows they’re fake or was shopping around for those prescription pills online for a low price and taking them unknowingly.

“We’re well on pace to surpass anything we’ve seen in the state of Nebraska before,” said Emily Murray with the Omaha Division of the DEA.

During the first six months of 2022 alone DEA officers in Nebraska seized 151,500 pills. That’s an increase over all of 2021, which was just shy of 83,000 pills.

“People are more likely to experiment with something like a pill because there’s not that stigma attached to it,” Murray said.

Murray explains that in recent years the cartel has shifted a lot of fentanyl trafficking from powders you snort or shoot to pill forms. Many are buying the pills on the dark web or through social media. She also said some who are seeking them out might not know that they are laced.

“They’re turning to the web, they’re turning to social media, they’re looking for a substitute or a lower price than what they’re already paying for their legitimate prescription medication,” Murray said.

To the untrained eye, it could be hard to distinguish between counterfeit and legitimate pills. Many of the fakes will be a similar color and have imprints found on the real ones.

“These pills are often times laced with a lethal dose of fentanyl so a lethal dose is 2 milligrams or more, that’s considered potentially lethal for most people,” Murray said.

Murray said the caution is not just limited to pills. That DEA officers now treat any substance like cocaine or meth as if they are potentially deadly as well.

“When you think about that it’s playing a game of Russian roulette you just don’t know what you’re going to get,” Murray said.

The DEA advises if you do come across these types of pills and are unsure, to first and foremost never ingest them. Secondly to turn them into local law enforcement agencies.

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