Iowans warned about deadly counterfeit narcotics

U.S. Attorney says fake oxycodone pills can cause overdoses.

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 8:21 AM

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Federal law enforcement is sounding the alarm about counterfeit prescription pills.

“The opioid epidemic lowered American life expectancy in 2015 and 2016 for the first time in decades,” says U.S. Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. “Heroin and prescription opioid abuse has taken a devastating toll on our community. But we have also seen a rise in the prevalence of counterfeit prescription pills being sold on the Internet and on the street. The public must be aware that while these pills may look like prescription drugs, looks can be deceiving. These pills can be incredibly dangerous because they often contain drugs far more powerful and dangerous than the purchaser realizes.”


Real oxycodone pills.

Counterfeit oxycodone pills.

Officials says 175 Americans die every day from drug overdoses, with counterfeit pills being blamed for some of that. Federal law enforcement says of particular concern are fake oxycodone pills that actually contain fentanyl and carfentanil. Doctors say fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa, Max Julian Wright was sentenced in July 2016 to life in federal prison after being found guilty of distributing heroin and fentanyl that caused at least 6 overdoses in Cedar Rapids, including two deaths. Fentanyl has also been linked to multiple overdoses and deaths in Dubuque.

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