Counterfeit medications are showing up in Iowa which federal authorities say are not only dangerous, they’re deadly.
Mike Casele, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Omaha office, says the fake pills are becoming all too common. “In these areas, as in many areas of the United States, we see a lot of meth,” Casele says. “We’re also seeing a lot of counterfeit pills. People are not getting these from lawful or legal means, through their doctor or pharmacy, and you just never know what you’re going to get with these.”
Casele says most of the pills being found in Iowa originated across the southern U.S. border. “Typically, we’re seeing a lot of these counterfeit pills coming up from Mexico,” Casele says. “From there, they just scattered throughout the United States. They are landing literally everywhere. I’ve worked in many offices throughout the country and talked to agents across the country and there doesn’t seem to be an area where we’re not seeing them at least at some level.”
More often, Casele says, the pills they’re finding contain very hazardous ingredients. “It’s incredibly dangerous,” he says. “Out of the pills that the DEA seizes and that we send to our labs for analysis, four out of every ten of those pills test positive for a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, which is for an average person, about two milligrams.”
Casele says the DEA is working with state and local law enforcement in an effort to slow the distribution of these illegal pills.
(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)