Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued a warning about a potentially lethal new drug that has shown up in Western New York.
Investigators with Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force were able to intercept a package containing 500 blue pills that looked like oxycodone. It turned out that they weren’t oxycodone, but instead, they were laced with fentanyl.
That was the first time fentanyl-laced pills appeared in the local region, but similar pills have been linked to numerous deaths in California.
“These dealers were playing Russian Roulette with the lives of New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said. “These poison pills are the latest troubling development in our state’s opioid crisis. I want to warn strongly against taking any prescription drugs you did not get directly from the pharmacy yourself. A single fentanyl-laced pill can kill you. Please be safe and stay vigilant.”
Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein says 132 suspected overdose deaths have happened in Erie County this year.
Fentanyl is 50 times as strong as heroin. An unsuspecting user of the pill has no way of telling how much fentanyl is in each one.
“A dose just the size of a few grains of sand,” can be deadly, according to Schneiderman’s office. “Unscrupulous drug dealers often cut fentanyl into other drugs because it is relatively inexpensive and can be mixed with other substances to increase a dealer’s profit.”
Schneiderman says oxycodone should only be purchased from a pharmacy.
Anyone who has seen the disguised pills can call police or Schneiderman’s office at 1-800-771-7755.