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AG issues public health warning about deadly fentanyl pills
Livingston County News - 9/21/2017
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has issued a public health alert warning of deadly fentanyl pills seized during an ongoing opioid investigation in Western New York.
The Attorney General's office said investigators intercepted a package containing 500 fentanyl-laced blue pills disguised as oxycodone during the investigation, which has stretched from coast to coast. Similar pills have been linked to several overdose deaths in California.
This is the first time fentanyl-laced pills have appeared in Western New York, Schneiderman said.
"These dealers were playing Russian Roulette with the lives of New Yorkers," Schneiderman said at a press conference in Buffalo. "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."
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said his office has not encountered the laced pills, but warned that "the risk is always present that they could be transported through our county or brought here by dealers or users."
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and a dose just the size of a few grains of sand can be lethal, according to the Attorney General'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, said the Attorney General's Office.
Schneiderman explained that the blue pills, which were purposely designed to look like prescription-strength oxycodone, are extremely dangerous as the unsuspecting user could be ingesting a potentially deadly quantity of fentanyl. The pills were likely mixed by hand by drug traffickers and, as such, there is no way for an unsuspecting user to know exactly how much fentanyl is in each pill.
People who think they may have seen these disguised pills are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-771-7755 or your local police department.