A dangerous and deadly counterfeit is being distributed as both Oxycodone, also known as dihydroxycodeinone, and Hydrocodone, also known as dihydrocodeinone -- both semi-synthetic opioids.
Each is marketed under various brand names such as Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet and other trade names (Oxycodone) and Vicodan, Vicoprofan, Norco and other trade names (Hydrocodone).
Instead of the semi-synthetic opioid Oxycodone or Hydrocodone, a deadly synthetic -- opioid Fentanyl -- is being used as the main ingredient. Fentanyl, a synthetic drug, is up to 50 times as powerful as heroin.
University of California Davis laboratory analysis found that counterfeit pills contained a variety of fentanyl doses; one sample of pills contained between 0.6 and 6.9 milligrams of fentanyl per pill (2 milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose for non-opioid users).
More than 28,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2014, the last year of nationwide data, more than double the total from a decade earlier. A handful of states reported 3,883 Fentanyl related deaths in 2015.
Some U.S. buyers today are ordering Fentanyl online directly from Chinese labs to cater to the same user demand pain clinics once served. The new drug makers are turning Fentanyl powder into tablets using an inexpensive pill press to create pills that often are externally identical to legitimate prescription drugs.
The result in mistaken dosage or overdose may be death.
Oxycodone, as well as many prescription drugs are manufactured in various pill styles and colors, with many different identifying markings. The only way to be assured you are getting an authentic item is to buy from a licensed pharmacy. (Photo:CVS)
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported these counterfeit Oxycontin pills as containing Fentanyl, not Oxycodone.
The pills are the same size, and feature A/215 stamp which usually helps identify of Oxycodone.
These blue pills had "A 215" markings consistent with 30mg Oxycodone pills. Analysis indicated that the pills did not contain Oxycodone, but the chemical U-47700, a synthetic opioid that has caused at least 17 overdoses and several deaths. (DEA)
Could you identify a counterfeit Hydrocodone tablet? The consequence for a mistake may be death.
Top: Authentic item photo courtesy of Mallinckrodt, PLC
Bottom: Counterfeit item photo courtesy of California Poison Control, S.F.