Pittsburgh area officials see alarming number of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in area – CBS Pittsburgh



PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Drug addiction counselors and law enforcement have said they are seeing an alarming number of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in the region.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, more people die from overdoses while taking counterfeit pharmaceuticals than anything else.

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The DEA said the federal government seized 9.5 million counterfeit drugs in the past year, twice as many as the past two years combined.

The DEA has said that at least 20% of these fake drugs contain life-threatening levels of methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl. Additional ingredients include paint thinner, household cleaning products, and other potentially deadly chemicals.

Counterfeit drugs come from Mexico, ingredients are shipped there from China, and finished products are shipped across the United States.

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Tim Phillips of the Westmoreland County Drugs and Alcohol Task Force said western Pennsylvania has been inundated with these fake drugs in recent years. Most of the drugs copied are pain relievers like Oxycodone and anxiolytics or psychotropics like Xanax and Adderall.

Federal authorities have discovered that other drugs, including Viagra and Tamiflu, are being copied and used by unsuspecting customers. Medicines are easily accessible on the Internet via the dark web and shipped by post.

Phillips told KDKA that these illegal drugs have already killed several people in western Pennsylvania. Phillips said the people who make these drugs have refined their manufacturing process, which in some cases makes it almost impossible to differentiate between legitimate pharmaceuticals and counterfeit products.

According to Phillips, most people who get sick and die are teenagers who try a single pill, but it’s enough to kill.

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If you want more information on counterfeit pharmaceuticals or if you or someone you know is addicted to it, click here or here or here for more resources.



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