The Drug Enforcement Administration is sounding the alarm about an increase in counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl and meth hitting the streets, including here in Arizona.
In fact, DEA agents say six million counterfeit pills were seized in our state in all of 2020; we've already reached that number this year and there are still three months left in 2021.
"These pills are made to look like real pills and there is no way to know the difference between a counterfeit pill and an actual pill," explains Cheri Oz, special agent in charge of the DEA Phoenix Field Division. "Fentanyl is a powder and can be put in anything."
And it's also extremely dangerous, even deadly. DEA agents tell ABC15 that of all the counterfeit pills seized, 42% were found to have lethal levels of fentanyl - meaning two out of every five pills on the streets could potentially kill.
"They are flooding the market. They are in your neighborhood. They are in your school they are in your community they are everywhere. They are very cheap to purchase and they're easy to buy online and social media available to all and they can even deliver to you," said Oz.
In 2020, the DEA says 93,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States, with fentanyl being a major contributor to that high number.
The goal of the One Pill Can Kill campaign is to raise awareness about just how dangerous these counterfeit pills are --and how they're infiltrating communities across Arizona and the rest of the country.
"This is a call to action for all of us. "This is a campaign about educating ourselves, educating our community, talking to our kids, and telling them what is in these pills. One pill can kill. It only takes one pill one time."
For more information on the One Pill Can Kill campaign, head to their website.