Counterfeit hydrocodone claims lives in the US

Counterfeit NorcoA fresh outbreak of deaths related to counterfeit painkiller products has hit the US, claiming several lives in the Sacramento area.

The fake pills - prepared to look like a hydrocodone product but actually containing fentanyl, another more powerful opioid analgesic - have killed 10 people at last count and hospitalised 30-plus others in the last 10 days, according to local reports.

Fentanyl has been found in a number of counterfeit medicines, including drugs produced to mimic hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazolam tablets that are widely diverted from the legitimate supply chain into the hands of addicts on the street.

The drug is an odourless substance considered to be 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

"Public health and law enforcement officials believe that the pills containing fentanyl were likely sold on the street under the guise of being legitimate hydrocodone," according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The white tablets bear the number M367, mimicking Actavis' Norco brand of hydrocodone plus acetaminophen tablets.

Similar clusters of deaths from fentanyl-laced tablets have been reported on the east coast of the US as well as in Canada last year, suggesting the problem may be widespread across North America.

A federal task force has been formed to investigate the origins of the illicit pills, which are currently thought to have been produced in Mexico, according to the DEA.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top