Americans struggle with a new and dangerous threat, as many people die from taking counterfeit pills. This comes with the constantly increasing number of pill presses entering the country, which has increased 19 times over the last six years, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Counterfeit machines and pill presses are those that bring the deadly synthetic drugs among U.S. citizens. What is even more alarming is the fact that it is really hard to differentiate between an authentic pill and a counterfeit pill. Now, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Justice Department is now struggling against the use of pill presses and trying to combat overdoses of synthetic fentanyl.
How are counterfeit pills so accessible?
These counterfeit pills are marketed as oxycodone or Xanax. They might be lethal if they get mixed up with fentanyl. This painkiller is no longer available for purchase, but the Chinese discovered how to produce it synthetically. Now, this version of the drug can be found easily on the black markets in the United States.
To produce authentic-looking pills, one needs a pill press. Unfortunately, these are widely available online and anyone can purchase such a tool. They press powder from different substances into a pill that is hard to distinguish from a real one. Thus, many people died after taking counterfeits instead of authentic pills.
One of the most popular cases of counterfeit pills overdose is the case of the pop icon Prince. The police discovered unlabeled pills mixed with fentanyl in the artist’s home, and they also found traces of the drug in his body.
Taking legal action against counterfeiting
Around 43 percent of the pill presses or other counterfeiting machines enter the United States via Port of Long Beach, California. The customs authorities constantly seize any suspicious-looking pill presses, even if they are entering the country in a legal manner. Pill presses are considered legal only if they are properly registered with the DEA.
However, many machines are illegal, and the customs officers find it difficult to spot them. Once every 7.8 seconds, a new container containing illegal counterfeiting machines enters the port. Fortunately, the authorities have succeeded in capturing more than 80 illegal pill presses since 2013.
The fight against counterfeit pills became more effective since the visit of the DEA administrator to China, Chuck Rosenberg. They discussed the problem of the fentanyl produced in China, which made the Chinese government ban six types of the synthetic drug.
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