Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, continues its lethal toll disguised in some situations as legit prescription drugs, officials warn.

when a Hamden man texted his dealer for four 30-milligram oxycodone in March, he may not have actually known what that was actually buying.

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that wasn"t until after the 30-year-old man passed away that it was discovered those pills were dangerous counterfeits.

an autopsy revealed the victim, not identified by authorities, overdosed top top drugs including fentanyl, a an effective synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Oxycodone to be not among those drugs, records show.

As part of a ongoing effort to pursue suspected dealers behind deadly overdoses, the U.S. Attorney"s office is prosecuting the suspected dealer, Agustin Cirino, for marketing these counterfeit pills — one of the an initial cases of its sort in Connecticut, public official said.

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Though cases like these aren"t yet usual in Connecticut, the U.S. Drug Enforcement management released a report that counterfeit pills disguising fentanyl, more powerful and also cheaper to produce, has become an additional growing danger in the fatal opioid epidemic.

unique Agent Timothy Desmond through the DEA"s new England division said word of this trend picking up began on the West Coast about a year ago.

"As is typical, it operated its method to the east Coast, whereby we have actually a strong opioid epidemic," Desmond said.

after Hamden police were referred to as to the untimely death the morning of in march 9, lock soon discovered three blue pills significant "M 30," along with a cut orange straw in the home, a criminal complaint charging Cirino said.

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lock learned that the victim had collection up with Cirino come buy 4 oxycodone in ~ a price of $120, equivalent the common street value for the typical prescription opioid: roughly $1 a milligram, the documents show. Message messages continued until not lengthy after the purchase. The following morning, his mother discovered him lifeless in his bedroom.

commonwealth investigators gathered the three staying pills native Hamden police. An net search by a task pressure agent turned up the the markings ~ above the pills would determine them as oxycodone developed by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, but he sent out them come a DEA lab for testing.

Results obtained in April showed the pills to be made the fentanyl, acetaminophen and dipryone. The task pressure agent would write in his report: "The pills did not contain oxycodone."

among those to have seen first-hand the lethal impact of fentanyl is Dr. Gail D"Onofrio, chef of emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Though reports the these types of situations are rarely in the new Haven area, D"Onofrio acknowledges fentanyl deserve to be made right into a counterfeit pill, a danger proposition for a drug user.

"Unfortunately, since they are so much an ext powerful than oxycodone, the user doesn"t know that and also they take it them and can overdose," she said.

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D"Onofrio claimed fentanyl deserve to compound the risk as much as "50 come 100 times" over various other morphine-like drugs.

Officials and also experts have long said that prescription opioids have actually proven a powerful gateway to addiction. Exploiting this demand, the DEA states drug traffickers have actually taken to creating counterfeits through stronger, more dangerous opioids and making vast profits.

critical July, the DEA exit the report ~ above this brand-new lethal trend in drug trafficking seen months later in the overdose in Hamden.

"The medicine trafficking organizations will take it the powders and press ... And also they will develop them to exactly mimic one oxycodone," Desmond said. "It could be mimicking any prescription drug even the color and the stamp."

D"Onofrio claimed with this tendency "we aren"t even going to watch these people. They room going to take the pill and die."


The report highlighted that agents in the brand-new England office had turned up countless these 30-milligram counterfeits native 2014 to 2015. Comparable reports the seizures have actually cropped increase in Tennessee and new Jersey. In Los Angeles, commonwealth authorities to speak they raided a counterfeit pill procedure with presses and other important materials to develop the fakes.

regardless of the DEA"s warning around the ubiquity of these pills, state police, which groups up through police departments throughout Connecticut with a statewide narcotics job force, has actually yet to have reports of counterfeits, a department spokeswoman said.

these pills, federal authorities contend, deserve to make drug traffickers a sustainable amount of money because that a small investment particularly if they use fentanyl.

The organizations have the right to buy a kilogram the the drug from China because that as tiny as number of thousand dollars. For as lot as $995, traffickers obtain an oxycodone press and also turn the fentanyl into thousands of thousands of pills the would later sell because that totals in the millions of dollars, the DEA outlined in the report.

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offered the demand and the benefit potential, the DEA warned the they just saw this problem growing in the "near term."

"Overdoses and also deaths from counterfeit medicine containing fentanyls will rise as users continue to inaccurately dose themselves through imitation medications," the DEA wrote.



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