Drug counterfeiting is one of the gravest, and yet most neglected, of all crimes rampant in the United States. Although these fake medications may appear to be similar to the original drug in all respects, but in reality, they may be entirely different in terms of compositions and effects. In recent times, people across the country have witnessed serious health risks such as toxic effects, antibiotic resistance, and even deaths. This is because most of these fake pills contain high proportions of fentanyl, an opioid medication which is almost 50 times powerful than heroin.
Recently, in Sacramento, California, nearly 40 people overdosed and nine of them succumbed to pain relieving drugs bought on the streets, which were perceived as the common pain reliever Norco, but instead, contained high concentration of the drug fentanyl. Surprisingly, these fake pills look exactly like Norco or Percocet, and even sedatives like Xanax.
Looking at the devastating effects of this growing epidemic, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and multiple local health agencies have issued safety alerts.
Counterfeit pills pose serious health risks
Counterfeit or fake pills are usually bought from the street or arranged from friends or illegal resources. Unfortunately, there is no way to identify the exact composition of these drugs if they are not procured from a physician or a pharmacy. The worst part is, they may have a different ingredient, contain a lower dose of the drug, or may have an entirely different composition.
Most people addicted to prescription drugs desperately procure them from illegal resources to satiate their cravings or overcome the withdrawal symptoms. In addition, the trend of online pharmacies has also contributed to the threat of fake drugs, with many of such internet pharmacies delivering the drugs directly to the patients, without even asking for a prescription.
As per a 2014 report by the government accountability office, there are as many as 36,000 rogue internet pharmacies, selling drugs with too much or too less of an active ingredient, and sometimes, an entirely different ingredient. Unfortunately, some of the drugs have been found containing obnoxiously poisonous substances such as rat poison, heavy metals and highway paint.
Preventive measures to control menace of fake drugs
To combat the hazards of adulterated drugs and to keep a tab on the manufacturers of counterfeit drugs, the former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2013, under which, each prescription drug must bear a serial number through which a manufacturer can be backtracked easily to a pharmacist or a doctor. In addition, a public database with the details of all the licensed manufacturers will be maintained so that the physicians can also verify the sources. However, it is feared that felons will still be able to replicate the packaging with the same bar codes and serial numbers.
Consumers can also take preventive measures by not buying medicines from the pharmacies that do not have a license. One must always look for the pharmacies that are recognized by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). In addition, one should refrain from buying from small pharmacies or the ones that advertise themselves as Canadian storefronts or small/strip mall pharmacies or the pharmacies that offer an unrealistically huge discount.
Road to recovery
People tend to use medication in a manner not prescribed by any medical care practitioner. Moreover, the tendency to share opioids among friends and relatives, and inappropriate methods of storing excess painkillers have contributed to the rise in prescription drug addiction.
If you or your loved one is addicted to opioids and other prescription drugs, it is time to get the right treatment. The Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can help you find the best treatments in reliable facilities suiting your needs. Please chat online with our specialists or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 for any assistance. Our specialists can refer you to the best prescription drug abuse treatment clinic in U.S.A.