Fentanyl, a an effective synthetic opioid, continues its lethal toy fee disguised in some cases as legit prescription drugs, officials warn.

once a Hamden guy texted his dealer for four 30-milligram oxycodone in March, he may not have actually known what he was actually buying.

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it wasn"t until after the 30-year-old man passed away that that was discovered those pills were dangerous counterfeits.

an autopsy revealed the victim, not identified by authorities, overdosed on drugs including fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid 50 come 100 times stronger than morphine. Oxycodone to be not one of those drugs, documents show.

As component of a continued effort to seek suspected certified dealer behind deadly overdoses, the U.S. Attorney"s office is prosecuting the doubt dealer, Agustin Cirino, for offering these counterfeit pills — one of the very first cases of its kind in Connecticut, public official said.

Though situations like this aren"t yet common in Connecticut, the U.S. Medicine Enforcement administration released a report that counterfeit pills disguising fentanyl, much more powerful and cheaper come produce, has become one more growing hazard in the deadly opioid epidemic.

unique Agent Timothy Desmond v the DEA"s new England department said native of this trend picking up began on the West Coast about a year ago.

"As is typical, it operated its method to the eastern Coast, whereby we have actually a strong opioid epidemic," Desmond said.

~ Hamden police were referred to as to the untimely death the morning of march 9, they soon uncovered three blue pills marked "M 30," along with a reduced orange straw in the home, a criminal complain charging Cirino said.

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they learned that the victim had collection up through Cirino come buy 4 oxycodone in ~ a price of $120, corresponding the usual street value for the usual prescription opioid: approximately $1 a milligram, the records show. Message messages continued until not lengthy after the purchase. The following morning, his mother uncovered him lifeless in his bedroom.

commonwealth investigators gathered the three staying pills indigenous Hamden police. An web search by a task force agent turned up that the markings top top the pills would identify them as oxycodone created by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, however he sent them to a DEA lab because that testing.

Results obtained in April showed the pills to be made that fentanyl, acetaminophen and dipryone. The task force agent would certainly write in his report: "The pills did no contain oxycodone."

amongst those to have seen first-hand the lethal influence of fentanyl is Dr. Gail D"Onofrio, chief of emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Though reports that these varieties of instances are rare in the new Haven area, D"Onofrio acknowledges fentanyl can be made into a counterfeit pill, a attention proposition because that a drug user.

"Unfortunately, since they room so much more powerful than oxycodone, the user doesn"t understand that and they take them and can overdose," she said.

D"Onofrio said fentanyl can compound the hazard as much as "50 come 100 times" over other morphine-like drugs.

Officials and experts have long said that prescription opioids have proven a an effective gateway to addiction. Exploiting this demand, the DEA claims drug traffickers have actually taken to developing counterfeits v stronger, much more dangerous opioids and making large profits.

critical July, the DEA exit the report on this brand-new lethal trend in drug trafficking viewed months later in the overdose in Hamden.

"The drug trafficking establishments will take it the powders and also press ... And they will produce them to specifically mimic an oxycodone," Desmond said. "It can be mimicking any type of prescription drug even the color and the stamp."

D"Onofrio stated with this tendency "we aren"t also going to see these people. They are going to take the pill and also die."


The report highlighted the agents in the brand-new England office had turned up countless these 30-milligram counterfeits indigenous 2014 come 2015. Similar reports the seizures have cropped increase in Tennessee and brand-new Jersey. In Los Angeles, federal authorities say they raided a counterfeit pill operation with presses and other essential materials to create the fakes.

regardless of the DEA"s warning around the prevalence of these pills, state police, which teams up with police departments across Connecticut through a statewide narcotics job force, has yet to have reports the counterfeits, a room spokeswoman said.

these pills, commonwealth authorities contend, deserve to make drug traffickers a sustainable amount of money for a small investment particularly if they usage fentanyl.

The organizations can buy a kilogram the the medicine from China because that as tiny as numerous thousand dollars. For as much as $995, traffickers get an oxycodone press and also turn that fentanyl into numerous thousands the pills that would later sell for totals in the numerous dollars, the DEA outlined in the report.

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offered the demand and also the profit potential, the DEA warned that they just saw this problem growing in the "near term."

"Overdoses and deaths native counterfeit medicine containing fentanyls will boost as users proceed to inaccurately sheep themselves through imitation medications," the DEA wrote.



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