DEA issues warning about deadly pills being sold through social media

The Drug Enforcement Administration is sounding the alarm about deadly fake prescription pills.

DEA issued a public safety alert about pills laced with heroin and methamphetamine that are increasingly being sold over social media sites.

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Officials say people think they are buying real prescriptions like Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, or Adderall, but instead, end up with the fakes.

DEA said it’s seizing these fake pills in every state, in unprecedented quantities, and that 40 percent of pills they’ve seized have a potentially deadly dose.

Law enforcement in Montgomery and Frederick counties as well as in Culpeper, Va. are among agencies that told FOX 5 they are dealing with these fake pills, sometimes sold on social media.

"We have seen some cases with social media stuff, Snapchat, Instagram, those things," said Cpt. Tim Chilton with the Culpeper Police Dept. "Some of the younger folks are using that for sales."

In an interview with the Washington Post, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram mentioned TikTok and Snapchat.

According to the public safety alert issued Monday, since 2019 the number of pills with fentanyl seized by DEA has jumped nearly 430 percent.

Chilton said in one case his department had been investigating for about a year, 45,000 pills were being trafficked up and down the east coast.

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In another, police arrested a man and woman they say had a brick of heroin and fentanyl as well as a bag of pills with suspected heroin and fentanyl, a total of five ounces.

Police say along with the deadly drugs they had an infant in their car with them and they crashed.

Thankfully everyone made it out alive.

"A couple granules of that, almost the size of a salt granule, could overdose somebody," said Chilton. "So you’re talking almost five ounces of it, or even more than five ounces, could’ve taken a large amount of people out. That seizure alone probably saved a lot of lives."

According to CDC, 93,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. last year, the largest number of drug-related deaths ever recorded.

DEA says traffickers are using the fake pills to exploit the ongoing opioid epidemic.