The Washington Division of the US Drug Enforcement Association issued a warning that drug dealers are marketing counterfeit drugs that look like prescription medication using popular social media apps such as Snapchat and Instagram.
While large drug trading websites like Dream Market or Silk Road have been shut down, social media has emerged as a flourishing new drug marketplace. Thousands of small-time dealers sell both large and small amounts of drugs to individual users in local communities.
Teenagers and young adults order the pills online, thinking that they are safe. In truth, however, they are deadly. Law enforcement officials across the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia are reporting these counterfeit pills are causing tragic overdose deaths across the region.
“These cartels are marketing to our children, to young adult kids in our area. With every pill that slips through the cracks, more lives are lost. Only one life lost – of our children, our family members, our neighbours – is one too many. We’re dedicated to educating the public about what’s going on and helping keep our area residents and families safe.”Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Washington Division
The DEA Washington Division has confiscated thousands of the counterfeit pills. Laboratory tests have shown that 26% of them contain a deadly amount of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The counterfeit pharmaceuticals are flooding into the country via Mexican cartels.
A Deadly International Collaboration
The fentanyl is manufactured in China, and then shipped to Mexico. The cartels mix it with other chemicals and press the resulting concoction into pills that look like Xanax, OxyContin, Adderall, or other popular drugs. The Mexican cartels then export it to the US, passing it on to dealers who sell these fake pills using social media apps to unsuspecting teens and young adults. These youngsters buy them online, pick them up from their local dealer, swallow them and then die.
We’re seeing that many of these pills are impossible to tell, on sight, if they are “real” or “fake,” and they are often found to contain deadly amounts of fentanyl. Only two milligrams of fentanyl is enough to cause an overdose, and what these cartels are selling to our kids, without any regard for a child’s life, is unfathomable.”Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the DEA Washington Division
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