What Are Blues Drugs? | The Dangers Of Counterfeit Blues
Counterfeit pills are more accessible than legitimate prescription drugs and are often sold on social media and other online platforms. Purchasing counterfeit oxycodone is high risk, as it can contain lethal doses of fentanyl or methamphetamine.
The buying and selling of fake medication is yet another factor that is contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis.
Counterfeit pills often look like prescription medications. Some people buy them believing that they are the same or very similar to pills you would get from a legitimate pharmacist.
However, counterfeit pills rarely contain the medications they purport to be. The most common drug included in counterfeit pills is fentanyl along with a number of potentially dangerous fillers.
What Is Counterfeit Oxycodone?
Counterfeit oxycodone pills are fake pills that are made to mimic real oxycodone pills. These pills are frequently laced with other drugs and may not contain any oxycodone at all.
These pills are frequently mislabeled and produced in substandard conditions. They may also contain lethal doses of cheaper drugs that require a smaller dose to achieve a similar effect to oxy.
The Drugs Most Commonly Used To Make Counterfeit Oxycodone
The drugs most commonly used to make counterfeit oxycodone are the synthetic opioid, fentanyl, or methamphetamine, which are considerably stronger than oxycodone.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), six out of every ten pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
Why People Buy Counterfeit Oxycodone
There are a variety of reasons someone may buy counterfeit oxycodone, including not knowing that it is counterfeit and that it is more accessible and affordable.
Lack Of Awareness
When people see prescription medications for sale online, they may be unaware that the drug is counterfeit.
Counterfeit pills can look very similar to prescription oxycodone, and if they don’t know what the legitimate pills look like, it can be easy to mistake fake pills for the real thing.
People may turn to buying counterfeit prescription drugs because they cannot get a legitimate prescription, especially if they have been flagged as a “drug seeker” by local physicians.
Others may purchase counterfeit prescription drugs through online marketplaces or people selling on the street due to convenience.
Another reason that people turn to buying their medication online is that it costs less than paying for the real thing.
Drug dealers have limited sources for prescription pills, so the cost of real prescriptions is considerably higher than a counterfeit pill.
The Risks Of Using Counterfeit Oxycodone
Dangerous additives that are used to make counterfeit oxycodone, such as fentanyl, pose serious and unpredictable health risks to individuals who take these pills, including overdose.
Counterfeit oxycodone pills have variable potency because there are no quality checks in place. This may mean that they contain some oxycodone, none at all, or more than the normal amount.
They may also contain variable potencies of methamphetamine or fentanyl, and there is no way to know what dose you are receiving. As a result, counterfeit pills frequently result in overdose.
Once counterfeit substance use occurs, the effects of the medication can be unpredictable.
Oxy that contains illicit drugs can lead to seizures, damage to internal organs, and an increased risk of overdose and overdose death.
Increased Overdose Risk
Counterfeit prescription pills often contain illicit fentanyl, illicit benzodiazepines, or other illicit drugs and can increase the drug overdose risk because the person may be exposed to drugs they didn’t intend to use.
Some counterfeit pills may also contain less of the original active ingredient, which may cause an individual to take more of the pills to have a desired effect while not knowing they may be ingesting fentanyl pills, which can lead to overdose or death.
Identifying Counterfeit Oxycodone
It can be extremely challenging to identify counterfeit prescription drugs if the drug dealer or drug trafficker is careful to match the color of the pill as well as the imprints.
With some counterfeit pills it may be clear that they are counterfeit and with others it may be more challenging.
Matching Color And Dosage
Legitimate oxycodone is a white, pink, green, or blue pill, while counterfeit pills may be yellowish white to pastel blue. Prescription oxycodone comes in five, ten, and 20-gram tablets.
A counterfeit tablet may have a different dosage printed on it, or the numbers may look slightly off from the original medication.
Real oxycodone pills feature imprinted symbols or numbers on the back of the pills that indicate the strength and manufacturer of the medication.
Immediate-release tablets have the imprint “A5” or “M30”. The extended-release pills are marked with a “M/C10” or similar imprint.
Counterfeit oxycodone may have different imprints on it, mispellings, or the imprints may look different from the real pill.
Fentanyl Testing Strips
Fentanyl test strips are a low-cost method to prevent fatal overdoses and aid in harm reduction.
Fentanyl test strips are small paper strips that can detect fentanyl in different drug types and drug forms, including pills, powders, and injectables.
You can test a drug by adding water to the drug and testing the mixture with a test strip. If the test is positive, the medication contains fentanyl.
What To Do In Case Of Overdose
If you believe you or a loved one are experiencing an opioid overdose, seek medical attention immediately.
Call 911 immediately. Try to be as calm as possible and answer all the operator’s questions as best you can. Be as specific as possible about your location.
Also let the operator know if your loved one is breathing and what their condition is. If they aren’t breathing the operator will be able to talk you through how to perform CPR.
Administer Narcan (Naloxone)
Narcan (naloxone) is an opioid agonist that reverses an opioid overdose.
If you suspect a drug overdose, you should administer Narcan. Narcan is a brand name of naloxone that is designed for easy, intranasal administration, and it can save a life.
Even if it turns out that the person overdosed on a non-opioid drug or that they did not overdose at all, Narcan will not harm them.
Place In The Recovery Position
After performing CPR and administering naloxone, the person should be placed in the recovery position as long as there is no injury to the spine or neck.
To place an individual in the recovery position, follow these steps:
- with the person lying on their back, kneel by their side
- extend their arm closest to you at a right angle to their body with the palm facing upward
- take their other arm and fold it so the back of their hand rests on their cheek closest to you and hold it there
- use your other hand to bend the person’s knee that is farthest away from you
- carefully roll the person onto their side by pulling their bent knee toward you
- ensure that their bent leg is at a right angle
- tilt their head back and lift their chin to ensure that their airway is open
Stay with the person and monitor them until first responders arrive.
Get Help With Your Drug Use At Spring Hill
If you or a loved one are seeking help for your drug use, we can help. Contact us at Spring Hill Recovery Center to learn how we can help you recover.
- Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) https://www.tga.gov.au/news/blog/how-spot-counterfeit-medicine/
- California State Board of Pharmacy https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/publications/counterfeit_drugs.pdf/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/72/wr/pdfs/mm7235a3-h.pdf
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/fentanyl/fentanyl-test-strips.html/
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2021-05/Counterfeit%20Pills%20fact%20SHEET-5-13-21-FINAL.pdf/
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/family/counterfeit-pills-what-you-need-know/
- Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition https://meridiancity.org/media/k2ohzbsp/madc-drug-bulletin-_-fentanyl-oxycodone-pills.pdf/
- Montana State University https://www.montana.edu/extension/health/CounterfeitPillsFactSheet.html
- National Library of Medicine: DailyMed https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=20bb6bb4-230a-c9c2-01d8-a6e9341e96ba/
- National Library of Medicine: PubMed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9982721/
- National Health Service (NHS) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/first-aid/recovery-position/
- National Health Service (NHS) https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/oxycodone/how-and-when-to-take-oxycodone/