Deadly counterfeit pills now 'everywhere' in Chicago, DEA says

  • A counterfeit tablet of oxycodone.

    A counterfeit tablet of oxycodone. Courtesy of the DEA

Updated 9/28/2021 6:43 AM

Chicago's drug addiction epidemic has taken a dangerous new turn, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is warning, with skyrocketing sales of counterfeit prescription pills containing the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Mexican drug cartels increasingly are manufacturing the pills with fentanyl, which is at least 30 times more potent than heroin and is fatal in doses of as little as two milligrams.


"It's everywhere," says Robert Bell, head of the DEA's Chicago field division. "They're available in street deals, for purchase online, in schools. It's very scary."

Unsuspecting people think they're getting a pharmaceutical-grade pill like OxyContin or Xanax, Bell says.

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