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DEA warns counterfeit pills targeting high school students may contain fentanyl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – COVID-19 infections aren’t the only things parents have to worry about now that kids are back in school for a new school year.

Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are currently working on multiple investigations involving the recent seizures of counterfeit pills that may be enticing to kids, especially high school kids, who might find themselves being offered something they think is a prescription pill or over-the-counter medication.

“We want to put out a warning of these counterfeit pills that are out there that are made to look like over-the-counter or prescription drugs that are actually fentanyl pills,” said Mike Dubet, DEA Assistant Special Agent.

Federal agents say the average teenager attending parties and get-togethers after school is less likely to experiment with a drug that requires a needle injection or snorting but is more likely to try a pill that’s easy to swallow.

But the pills they may think are harmless, could be highly addictive or deadly.

A video released by the DEA shows pills recently seized by agents during drug busts. They are all counterfeit Adderall, Xanax, Oxycodone and over-the-counter medication pills. The video shows the pill press machine that agents say was used to create the counterfeit medication and also shows the pills being tested in a DEA lab where it was determined the pills are actually made up of fentanyl, powdered meth and crystal meth.

Dubet says his agents are constantly seizing large amounts of these pills already in Jacksonville or before they arrive in the city.

“We want our communities to be aware of it and our children to be aware of it and stay away from that,” Dubet said.

Dubet says the highly addictive and potentially lethal pills are made by drug cartels and smuggled into the country. But the pills can easily be offered and sold on street corners, on school campuses and at after-school get-togethers. This is why he is urging parents to have a conversation with their kids about the dangers of experimenting with pills.

“Since we were children, we were taught that when we don’t feel well, we take a pill to make us feel better. So, it’s an easier transition for someone to try drugs if it’s in a pill format,” Dubet said.

Dubet also said there may be drug dealers who are just kids themselves and if your kid knows of a classmate selling or offering pills on a school campus to other children, it needs to be reported to a teacher or school resource officer.


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