MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – As the number of Americans dying from drug overdoses has increased in recent years, the Drug Enforcement Administration is working to raise awareness of the number of counterfeit pills coming into the country. The ‘One Pill Can Kill‘ campaign was started in October to highlight how this increase is impacting our communities.

“These pills are often laced with methamphetamine or fentanyl and they are deadly,” said Brian McNeal, Public Information Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration Detroit Division. “If the DEA were to seize 100 of these counterfeit pills today, 42% would contain a lethal dosage of fentanyl. Two years ago that number was down at 20, so you can see just the amount, the increase that these drug-trafficking organizations have put in their manufacture of these counterfeit pills.”

McNeal says that low overhead costs and discrete ways to conceal the substances have contributed to the rise in production of lethal substances like fentanyl.

“These drugs are made in a lab, and so all you need is a facility and the right chemicals and you can run 24/7, driving your production costs down, so it’s increasing your profits.’ McNeal said. “So they’ve turned to these pills as a way of opening up new avenues. They’re easier to transport because they blend in. You know you could probably put 10,000 of these in a gallon Ziploc bag, so that’s why we’re seeing an increase of these pills.”

The DEA says that social media has been a growing avenue for substance sales. The administration has been following and tracking the increased use of emojis for people looking to buy and sell different drugs. With small amounts needed for a lethal dosage of drugs like fentanyl, the rising influx entering our communities can spell grave consequences.

“These are some powerful pills. We’re talking fentanyl is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, so we’re talking some pretty powerful stuff and the damage that they’re doing is untold,” McNeal said. “Last year in 2020, the DEA Detroit division seized over 200 pounds of fentanyl. 200 pounds. And if you think of a lethal dosage is ten grains of salt-sized particles. Think of how much damage 200 pounds of that substance could do. So these are deadly chemicals that are being pushed into our region.”

If you are uncertain of the safety of any prescriptions, you can visit the ‘One Pill Can Kill‘ webpage for information on resources or finding treatment.