One Pill Can Kill

Working Together in Virginia to Fight Fake Pills & Fentanyl Overdoses

Can you spot the fake?

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Do You Trust Your Eyes With Your Life?

Fake prescription pills containing lethal substances like fentanyl pose a significant threat to public health in Virginia. Officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency report a dramatic rise in the number of fake pills containing at least 2 mg of fentanyl, which is considered a potentially lethal dose. Criminal drug networks are flooding the Commonwealth with these pills, masquerading them as legitimate prescription drugs and deceiving the public. 

Laboratory testing indicates 7 out of every 10 pills seized by the DEA contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. In 2023, the DEA seized a record 74.5 million fentanyl pills, which exceeds 2022’s totals of 58 million pills.

In 2022, more than 23,802 people died from overdoses of fentanyl or other synthetic opioids excluding methadone in Virginia. Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid most commonly found in fake pills, is the primary driver in this alarming increase in poisoning deaths.

How it started

The Rise of Fake Prescription Pills in Virginia

Drug traffickers are mass-producing and marketing fake pills as legitimate prescription medication. These fake pills are widely accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone. Many of these fake pills resemble common medications such as oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), alprazolam (Xanax®), or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®).

Why It Matters

The Danger of Fake Pills in Virginia

Fake pills often contain fentanyl, a highly potent and potentially lethal synthetic opioid, or other dangerous substances like methamphetamine. Drug traffickers are exploiting the opioid crisis and prescription drug misuse by using fake pills, contributing to the alarming increase in drug poisoning deaths.

Nationwide, drugs like fentanyl accounted for 77% of teen overdose deaths in 2021. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the overdose mortality rate among U.S. adolescents aged 14 to 18 years old rose by 94% between 2019 and 2020.

Unfortunately, Virginia is not immune to this serious health crisis. The number of fentanyl overdose deaths in the Commonwealth has grown over 20-fold since 2013, with 1,951 Virginians killed by fentanyl in 2022. Since 2020, more Virginians have died from fatal drug overdoses than motor vehicle and gun-related deaths combined. Drug overdose is the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia.

A single pill | One Pill Can Kill

Tell-Tale Signs That A Pill Might Be Fake

When in doubt, throw it out.

How To Protect Yourself

The only safe medications are ones that come from licensed and accredited medical professionals.

Learn more about the dangers of fake prescription pills and how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Explore the Resources and Education sections of this website to access valuable information, tools, and support.

Resources

Discover online tools, treatment options, and informative fact sheets to educate yourself about the dangers of fake pills and fentanyl.

About Our Fentanyl Awareness Campaign

Learn how Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General is fighting back against the dangers of fentanyl and fake prescription pills.

Education

Learn the facts and educate yourself about fentanyl and fake pills to protect yourself and your loved ones.