BILLINGS — They look like prescription medications, but in reality, new types of fake pills being ingested across Montana contain a drug 100 times more potent than morphine. The DEA is warning people about the dangers in its One Pill Can Kill campaign.
"There are more counterfeit pills being sold," said Stacy Zinn, resident agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Agency in Billings. "These pills are made to look like Oxycontin or they can be made to look like Xanax. But the problem with these pills that they're actually not pharmaceutical pills, but they're actually made up of fentanyl and heroin."
Zinn oversees Montana and she is concerned about the spike in fake deadly pills.
"You've got drugs coming from the state of Washington, Salt Lake City, Denver, Detroit region," she said.
Zinn said many of the drugs come from Mexico. "Borders are important," Zinn said. "And it's it's not a political statement. It's just a fact of life. There's people that try to get into the United States to cause harm to to us."
Nationally the DEA seized 9.5 billion fake pills with fentanyl or methamphetamine in the last two years, resulting in thousands of deaths.
In Montana, Zinn says agents have seized about 9,000 fake pills with heroin, fentanyl or carfentanil.
According to the DEA, drug dealers sell in the inner cities, suburbs, rural communities, and over the internet and social media, and the pills are being marketed to teenagers.
Zin says some using the fake pills know the risks.
"They're willing to risk their lives in order to get that original euphoric feeling," Zinn said.
And she says it's important to know where you get your prescription medications.
"Not on the street, not from an individual, your relatives, or anyone else said that your friend because you don't know if that pill is real or if it's fake," she said.