DETROIT, Mich. (WKBN) – Across the U.S., over 50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder were seized in 2022. Laboratory estimates show the drugs represent more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl.
In Ohio, Michigan, and Northern Kentucky, the DEA seized more than 280,000 fentanyl-laced pills and over 600 pounds of fentanyl powder — more than 19 million deadly doses.
Authorities say fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams, enough to fit on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose.
Most fentanyl is trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels, according to the DEA. It is mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals from China.
The DEA has issued alerts about fentanyl-laced pills and other drug products that are made to look like prescription medications such as OxyContin, Percocet and Xanax.
“These fake pills are readily found on social media, yet no pharmaceutical pill bought on social media should be considered safe. The only safe medications are ones prescribed directly to you by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist,” said DEA Detroit Special Agent in Charge Orville Greene.
Fentanyl and fentanyl-laced pills are routinely seized in drug searches in the Valley. Over the first four months of 2022, Mahoning County Public Health recorded a 44 percent increase in fentanyl contamination in cocaine and a 20 percent increase in fentanyl contamination in methamphetamine.
Over the summer, Mercy Health issued a warning about an uptick in overdose deaths linked to fentanyl-laced drugs.