NASHVILLE — Special Agents with the Drug Investigation Division of the Tenn. Bureau of Investigation are warning the public about a recent dramatic increase in the prevalence of counterfeit prescription drugs in in the state.
In recent days, agents in middle Tennessee have seen a spike in adulterated Percocet® pills being sold on the street and are warning users that these counterfeit pills have deadly consequences. Active and ongoing investigations continue into the source of these pills.
These counterfeit drugs have a very similar look and appearance to legitimate Percocet® pills, but contain potentially lethal ingredients that cause law enforcement officials immediate concern.
Numerous overdoses across middle Tennessee are being attributed to this batch of dangerous drugs, and agents are warning users that more overdoses and deaths are likely as these pills make their way to users.
“We want to make the public abundantly clear that these pills being made in clandestine labs present a very real and life-threatening danger to anyone who takes them,” said TBI Deputy Director Jason Locke. “We can’t stress enough that the pills people buy on the streets can and do contain deadly elements.”
In the last year, dozens of case submissions from counties across Tennessee have shared a common, concerning trend: Pills shaped, colored, and stamped to look like a particular type of prescription medication have proven to be something different in laboratory analysis.
For example, in May 2015, a Tennessee law enforcement agency recovered what appeared to be several 30mg pills of oxycodone during a traffic stop. Each was the same size and featured the signature A/215 stamp characteristic of oxycodone.
However, laboratory analysis performed by TBI Forensic Scientists indicated the pills were counterfeit and did not contain oxycodone. Instead, they contained fentanyl, a pain killer 50 times as potent as heroin that can be deadly in high doses.