CLAY COUNTY — Law enforcement officials with Clay County Sheriff’s Office are urging families to speak with children about the dangers of counterfeit drugs and accessing medications from sources other than a licensed pharmacy.

“Counterfeit prescription pills made with fentanyl are an increasing threat in Clay County,” states a sheriff’s office release. “We are investigating many of these cases involving the deaths and overdoses of teens and young adults. For the first time since 2015, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a public safety alert, and it’s about this threat.”

The DEA has seized more than 9.5 million of these types of counterfeit pills so far this year, an amount more than the last two years combined.

“These pills are widely available on social media and ecommerce platforms,” states the sheriff’s office release. “These pills look like genuine prescription drugs and cannot be distinguished by appearance alone. Please talk to your kids about the dangers of getting prescription medication from anywhere other than a pharmacy.”

According to the DEA, counterfeit pills are “more lethal than ever before.”

“The number of DEA-seized counterfeit pills with fentanyl has jumped nearly 430% since 2019. DEA lab testing reveals that two out of every five pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose,” states a DEA fact sheet.

Families can learn more learn more at dea.gov/onepill.

Anyone with local information about distribution of these pills can report it at sheriffdrugtaskforce@claycountymo.gov. More on this developing story will be published as details become available.

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