FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Deaths from fentanyl continue to rise in Florida and throughout the United States. One of the insidious ways that drug dealers and drug networks peddle their deadly products is by creating fake prescription drugs that contain fentanyl. The Broward Sheriff’s Office is issuing an important reminder to the public of the dangers of these counterfeit and potentially lethal pills.
When pills are purchased illegally, it’s impossible to know what’s in them and the effect they might have on the human body. Drug dealers often sell counterfeit pills on social media or on e-commerce websites, enabling the pills to be easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. This problem is national in scope. Since 2019, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl seized by the DEA has jumped more than 400 percent. There has also been a significant rise in the amount of fake pills seized that contain at least 2 mg of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose.
Counterfeit pills are often made to look like prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam or stimulants like amphetamines. It is vital that people only take prescription medication prescribed by a medical doctor and obtained from a licensed pharmacist.
“The statistics are undeniable. Fentanyl is a growing problem in our community and across the nation,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “We know that people are struggling with drug addiction. We want to see them get the help they need and not die from a lethal dose of fentanyl concealed in an illegal counterfeit pill.”
Sheriff Tony serves as co-chair of Project Opioid Broward, a joint effort by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Foundation and Florida Blue Foundation to address the opioid epidemic.
In 2020, the latest year that statistics are available from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, Broward County led the state in the number of fentanyl deaths. The vast majority of those deaths occurred with fentanyl being used in combination with another drug or drugs. Statewide in 2020, fentanyl was the drug that caused the most deaths.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are places to go for help and resources. Call 211 or visit HERE. You can also visit Broward Addiction Recovery Center or The United Way of Broward County.