The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a dire warning to Chicago-area drug users and addicts as part of its “One pill can kill” campaign after seeing a major uptick in the number of fake pain pills in the area laced with other drugs.
The new campaign began just days before the DEA’s Chicago field division arrested 22 people in the local area in connection with a major drug trafficking operation — while a total of roughly 800 people were arrested nationally in the same sweep. In connection with the arrests, more than 77,000 counterfeit prescription pills were also seized in the area.
While those numbers may seem staggering, that’s just a fraction of what’s out there. Roughly 1.8 million counterfeit pills and 700 kilograms of fentanyl were seized in just this one nationwide sting operation.
The phrase “buyer beware” has taken on new meaning
Chicago is in the midst of a drug epidemic, and dealers are largely getting their supply of “prescription” pills from Mexican drug cartels. The cartels are frequently boosting the potency of their drugs with either methamphetamine or fentanyl — and some of the pills are being made with unknown illicit chemicals from China.
What makes these drugs particularly dangerous is that they’re being sold to people who think that they’re getting actual prescription drugs like Xanax, Oxycontin or Norco that have been procured through pill mills, stolen prescription pads and the like. Users don’t have any idea of what they may really be taking, which — far too often — leads to overdoses and death. In the words of Robert Bell, who leads the DEA’s Chicago field division, “The cartels are exploiting the opioid pill problem.”
Indeed, the vast majority of people who get into trouble with the law over drug charges are addicts — not casual drug users or hardcore traffickers. If your prescription pill addiction has led to criminal charges, take immediate steps to protect your rights.