updated May 9, 2023
Many street pills claim to be Oxy, Adderall or Xanax. But they’re really knock-offs designed to look just like the real thing.
What’s worse, one in four of these pills contain fentanyl, and nearly half of those contain a high enough dose to kill you. More than 100,000 Americans died last year of an overdose, two-thirds of those fatalities were due to fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug 100x stronger than morphine and 50x more potent than heroine. As a result, it takes just 2mg—equal to 4 grains of fentanyl—to kill one person. Just 8 ounces of the stuff could kill everyone in Solano County.
If a pill isn’t prescribed to you, or your kids, it’s not safe. Fentanyl kills.
CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE?
Counterfeit drugs look identical to the real thing. The only safe medications are those purchased with a prescription or provided by a doctor, nurse, dentist or pharmacist.
Cartels and drug networks manufacture fake pills and falsely market them on the black market as legitimate prescription pills. Fentanyl is often added to pills due to its high potency. Fentanyl makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, super addictive—and dangerous.
Counterfeit pills that have been spotted in the community include painkillers, anti-anxiety medicines and ADHD stimulants. Examples include oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), alprazolam (Xanax®); amphetamines (Adderall®) and methylphenidate (Ritalin®).
Fake pills are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms or in-person from drug dealers. Sometimes they are made available at schools or are shared between friends.
Many users are lured in by false claims that the pills are simply “leftovers from a relative’s injury” or “from an old prescription,” when they’re really bought without a prescription. How do you really know?
PREVENT YOUTH ACCESS
Fentanyl sellers often advertise counterfeit pills on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.
Why? To reach a younger, more vulnerable potential customers. Advertisements often show up in temporary stories and posts. These ads are accompanied by known code words or emojis and redirect young customers to apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram where sales can be made secretly, via online payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, Cash App and Remitly.
Parents, please talk to your children about the dangers of counterfeit pills. Products bought on social media or handed out by friends are rarely what they claim to be.
Public Service Announcements with VacavilleUSD
Please see 4 videos developed by high school students from Vacaville Unified School District, parents, the VUSD Public Information Officer, and other concerned residents, in collaboration with Solano Public Health/VibeSolano.
MORE PREVENTION RESOURCES
To learn more, visit one of our VibeSolano’s partner websites:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) | Stop Overdose
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) | One Pill Can Kill
- Drug Safe Solano (Touro University) | Prevention
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) | Opioid Overdose Prevention
STOP OVERDOSE DEATHS
Counterfeit pills can quickly lead to an overdose and death.
Fentanyl’s initial effects include relaxation, euphoria, pain relief and sedation, but can quicky turn to confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, cold or discolored skin, vomiting, choking, weak breathing, and if not treated immediately, death.
Those who are experiencing an overdose often have constricted “pinpoint” pupils and appear limp.
Once signs of overdose are apparent, it’s critical for users and those close by to act quickly:
- 1. Contact 911.
- 2. Administer lifesaving Naloxone (Narcan®), if nearby. Naloxone can be purchased from a local pharmacy without a prescription in California.
- 3. Lay the person on their side to prevent choking and keep them awake until help arrives.
Sources: DEA, CDC and Drug Safe Solano (Touro University)
For Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services in Solano County visit the Solano County Behavioral Health Services Page
A very dangerous drug when used by humans, Xylazine, is now being added to the illicit drug supply. It is often found in fentanyl laced street pills. It was developed for use as a tranquilizer for horses and other large animals. It is being sold as “tranq,” “tranq dope,” “philly dope,” or “zombie drug.” Xylazine is being combined with other opioids increasing the nation’s rate of fatal overdose deaths. Per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), between 2020 and 2021 xylazine-positive overdose deaths increased by 1,127% in the Southern region of the US, 750% in the West, more than 500% in the Midwest and more than 100% in the Northwest. People using illicit drugs may not be aware that xylazine is getting mixed-in with their supply.
Because Xylazine is a sedative, naloxone (Narcan) can’t reverse a Xylazine overdose. However, since Xylazine is often combined with other opioids such as fentanyl, or oxy, administering naloxone is still highly recommended if the person is non-responsive to combat the other opiates in an overdose situation.
Xylazine has been seen in every region in the US and has made its way to California. Solano County will continue to monitor and address this emerging threat on the West Coast. For more information on Xylazine and preventive measures, please visit the California Department of Public Health website https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/sapb/Pages/Xylazine.aspx and the White House briefing paper here: Biden-Harris Administration Designates Fentanyl Combined with Xylazine as an Emerging Threat to the United States | ONDCP | The White House