Modified: April 1, 2021 9:46am
ERIE COUNTY'S DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND CENTRAL POLICE SERVICES ISSUE WARNING: COUNTERFEIT PILLS CAN KILL
ERIE COUNTY, NY- The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is reminding residents that counterfeit pills containing fentanyl are being distributed within the community.
Over the past several months, the Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory has seen a steady influx of counterfeit alprazolam and oxycodone tablets seized by law enforcement agencies in Erie County. In many cases, the counterfeit pills contain fentanyl or dangerous derivatives that are likely to be unknown to the user and may result in an overdose. Purchasing or obtaining medication from anyone other than a licensed pharmacy is extremely risky and may result in consuming substances that are unknown and deadly to the user.
From 2019 to 2020, Erie County experienced a 57% increase in confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths. Fentanyl can be present in tablets, capsules and other solutions. Inhalation, even if unknown, of the airborne powder is most likely to lead to harmful effects including death. Incidental skin contact from handling tablets containing fentanyl may occur and result in harmful effects.
“The volume of suspected opioid-related overdose deaths currently under investigation by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office is alarming,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “These losses are tragic and devastating to families. We have to get the message out that counterfeit pills can kill.”
ECDOH is reminding residents that Narcan (naloxone), if administered in a timely manner, can reverse the deadly effects of an opioid overdose. If you or someone in your life uses opioids, request a free Narcan kit by calling (716) 858-7695 or send a text to (716) 225-5473.
- If you are seeking help, the Buffalo and Erie County Crisis Services Addiction Hotline is available 24/7 at (716) 831-7007.
- If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, please make sure you always carry Narcan.
- ECDOH’s “Text to Narcan” program has expanded access to free Narcan kits. Erie County residents can text (716) 225-5473 and we will provide you with Narcan.
- Free Narcan kits are available from ECDOH staff and at outreach events throughout the county.
- Free emergency Narcan boxes are available for businesses and organizations to install in accessible areas in their facility. ECDOH will resupply these boxes with free Narcan kits as needed. Call (716) 858-7695.
- Local hospital emergency departments at ECMC, Kaleida Health and Catholic Health are able to connect patients with immediate medication assisted treatment and other resources. Visit https://mattersnetwork.org/community-resources/
- ECDOH has resumed limited in-person Narcan trainings in addition to virtual trainings. Register at www.erie.gov/opioidtrainings or watch a short video on How to Save a Life with Narcanhttp://youtube.com/watch?v=j8V3JkJ2sZw