Police warn of counterfeit prescription pill trend in Springfield area

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:07 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 5:36 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield Police Department seized large quantities of pills that look like Oxycodone, but they have been called Percocet.

Investigators believe the counterfeit pills contain Fentanyl and have led to several overdoses. The recent trend involving counterfeit prescription pills poses a threat to those who may encounter it.

Captain Tony Vienhage said there’s been one fatality connected to these pills, but several people who have recently overdosed had the pills with them.

Physicians commonly prescribe Oxycodone and Percocet as opioid pain medications. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. It is commonly added to heroin or other controlled substances to increase their potency. You can absorb it into the body via inhalation or skin contact. Illegally manufactured Fentanyl can be extremely dangerous and has been a major contributor to opioid-related overdoses.

In 2021, the Springfield Police Department responded to 566 calls for service involving overdoses with 61 total fatalities. So far in 2022, the Springfield Police Department has responded to 86 calls for service involving overdoses with eight total fatalities.

Dr. Breanna Jain with Eustasis Psychiatric and Addiction Health says counterfeit pills are highly dangerous, especially when a person is desperate.

“If they’re not able to obtain the substance that they would normally get, they’re going to take what somebody tells them,” said Jain. “[They might say] this is the next best thing or this will make you feel better.”

She said those manufacturing counterfeit pills will purposely add Fentanyl to increase the addiction.

“This is a business to a lot of people,” said Jain. “There’s not a lot of humanity attached to that business of any at all. It’s a means for them to make money at the expense of someone’s tragedy.”

If you have a loved one in this situation, she said to have empathy.

“People don’t necessarily feel that they can bring themselves out of this on their own,” said Jain. “So if you tell them when you’re here and ready to do this, then we’re going to help. What do you need to get there and what can we do to make you feel like you can accomplish this.”

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