US Attorney Warns Fake Prescription Drugs Can Be Deadly

ByDonald L. Leech

Apr 27, 2022

U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh reminds residents of 52 counties and seven cities in the Western District of Virginia that it’s easy to get addicted to opioids, benzodiazepines like Xanax or stimulants like Adderall, even if they’re prescribed by a doctor.

“I know it personally. I’ve had family members who were addicted to prescription opioid use, and I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to be able to fight back and successfully recover from that addiction.

And, he warns, there’s a new danger: pills that look like prescription drugs: Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax or Adderall. You can buy them online and your order may arrive in the mail.

“The consumer thinks there’s some kind of legitimacy that comes with that, because it’s in pill form, and these counterfeit squeezed pills are anything but,” Kavanaugh says. “In fact, we see a large amount of it containing fentanyl and containing enough fentanyl to kill someone.

He notes that 80,000 people die each year in this country from drug overdoses.

“If you think of Virginia Tech football stadium and UVA basketball stadium combined, we lose so many people every year to prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths.”

The epidemic is no longer confined to the land of coal. It’s all over this state and the country, and fentanyl overdose is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 18 and 45. Kavanaugh says he’s not here to prosecute people addicted to fentanyl or methamphetamine, but he does go after dealers, and the legal penalties for selling fake pressed pills can be steep.

“If you hand out one of these pills and it kills another person, you’re looking at a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence in the federal system. We see a lot of these overdose cases in high schools and colleges. »

That’s why he asks parents of teenagers and young adults for help.

“You must please have a conversation with your children and have a conversation with your friends and colleagues who are also parents. Let them know the dangers of rushing pills and the dangers of popping any pill to someone who isn’t a doctor.

You can find plenty of information on the subject on the Drug Enforcement Administration website. Just search under A pill can kill.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.