We have always put out warnings about the dangers of buying street drugs. In this day and age, it is impossible to know what substances you may actually be getting. And in the case of black market prescription pills, it appears as though many “customers” are unknowingly purchasing fentanyl and putting their lives at serious risk.
This issue has become such a hot topic that The Philadelphia Inquirer published a front page story about it. Dubbing these dangerous mixtures as “pressed pills,” they have led to dozens of hospitalizations and multiple fatalities across the east coast. The scariest part is, the pills these people are getting look no different than the traditional black market painkillers that they’re used to. Often times the buyers assume that they’re purchasing OxyContin, but in fact they’re consuming something much, much worse.
Philadelphia Drug Enforcement Administration rep Pat Trainor spoke to The Inquirer about this growing trend.
“People have been selling fake pills for a while, but not quite to this extent,” Trainor explained. “We’ve seen counterfeit pills for many years, but the availability has really skyrocketed over the past year. It’s of great concern to us.”
And the truth is, fentanyl is getting compounded into many other street drugs as well. It has been traced back to cocaine, methamphetamines and hallucinogens such as PCP. The pressed pills is a newer phenomenon and getting uncovered more and more via overdose autopsies.
And let’s not forget that these scenarios carry all sorts of other risks as well. Fentanyl is much more addictive than Oxy, which can further dependencies for people unknowingly receiving it in their stashes. It is assumed that this may be part of the reason that dealers are lacing their products, but even they may not realize the increased dangers that accompany this type of compound.
The Inquirer pointed out that fentanyl pills are wreaking havoc in Philadelphia. According to recently released stats, they accounted for 81 percent of all drug overdoses within the city during 2020. As of right now, elected officials have begun speaking with the press there; issuing public awareness campaigns about this epidemic. They have also launched a community education initiative to try and prevent more overdoses.
Philadelphia’s director of substance abuse prevention, Kendra Viner, added one last note when addressing the press.
“The risk of overdose is becoming more and more an issue,” Viner concluded. “We need as many prevention mechanisms in place as possible to prevent this from continuing.”