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Counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl seen in Southern Idaho

“We have more cases just for 2021 that are involving pills than we had in 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined”
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 3:43 PM MDT
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Southern Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The Drug Enforcement Administration issued an alert warning Americans of a sharp increase in counterfeit pills containing fentanyl. Fake pills resembling prescription medications like Oxycontin, Xanax and Adderall, all containing fentanyl.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for almost 25 years and I have not seen anything that has come on this fast, that is this addictive and dangerous as fentanyl,” said Idaho State Police District 4 Commander Capt. Dave Neth.

According to police, it’s a surge that has reached Southern Idaho.

“We, being Idaho State Police, we have more cases just for 2021 that are involving pills than we had in 2018, 2019 and 2020 combined,” said Neth. “[That is] just for District 4, which is South Central Idaho, so we have absolutely seen an increase and right now, I don’t see it letting up.”

Magic Valley Paramedics said data shows an increase in overall overdoses involving any medication, and of concern is that when pills are laced with another substance, 911 calls can become more difficult.

“There may be signs and symptoms that are coming through for things that we’re not seeing,” said Saint Luke’s Supervisor Community Health EMS James Rhom. “So, definitely if medications are laced with other medications that can complicate it for us quite significantly.”

ISP said step one is to crack down on those distributing these dangerous pills, but they emphasize the current fentanyl crisis is a community issue that impacts everyone, including children and seniors.

“Right now, if you’re battling a crisis in your life, if you try to self-medicate with prescription pills, if you have an addiction issue, right now it is a very dangerous time,” said Neth. “I would say to get help.”

ISP said any pill purchased from a source other than a prescription from a doctor should be assumed to contain fentanyl.

“One dose, one hit of that, it could be enough to kill you,” Neth said.

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