The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued a Public Warning regarding a growing number of fake pills bought online that are being laced with potentially lethal amounts of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. In addition, an animal tranquilizer, xylazine, has been recorded in a number of deaths nationwide recently. 

There have been 34 confirmed overdose deaths in Kankakee County this year with five additional cases pending final toxicology. 28 of the 34 overdose deaths this year have been attributed to fentanyl and two of the deaths have also included xylazine. 

Some of the most common counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®). 

Fake prescription pills are widely accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including teens and young adults. 

These counterfeit pills have been seized by DEA in every U.S. state, and in unprecedented quantities. The Drug Enforcement Administration warns the American public of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. International and domestic criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills, falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills, and killing unsuspecting Americans. 

These counterfeit pills are easy to purchase, widely available, and often contain deadly doses of fentanyl. Pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous, and potentially lethal. 

This alert does not apply to legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals and dispensed by pharmacists.

The only safe medications are ones prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Any pills that do not meet this standard are unsafe and potentially deadly. DEA has launched the public awareness campaign, One Pill Can Kill, to educate the public on dangers of counterfeit pills and how to keep Americans safe. For more information, visit DEA.gov/onepill.