WASHINGTON, D.C. >> In a report released Friday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found that hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills are making their way into the United States.
According to the state Chief Medical Examiner, fentanyl was a factor in 332 accidental overdose deaths statewide between January and March of this year. There were 14 total fentanyl-related deaths in all of 2012, according to data from the medical examiner’s office.
When used correctly in medical settings, fentanyl is an effective pain reliever, according to the DEA. But drug traffickers have begun lacing heroin and other opioids with lethal amounts of the drug without the customer’s knowledge.
The DEA said that fentanyl is being mass produced in China and sold to drug traffickers in Mexico and the United States. Sometimes, the counterfeit drugs are being produced in locations and by businesses that do “legitimate” business with U.S. companies, a major concern for the DEA, according to the report.