DEA, Tahoe-area cops on lookout for bogus pain pills laced with fentanyl
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is assisting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with a region-wide investigation after counterfeit hydrocodone was linked to the death of an El Dorado Hills man.
The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office advised the sheriff’s office that the recent death of George Berry, 18, is suspected of being related to a rash of deaths in the Sacramento area from counterfeit hydrocodone pills laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
Health officials have said seven people have died and another 21 other people have been sent to hospitals since March 24 after likely taking the tainted tablets or capsules, according to the Associated Press.
The sheriff’s office warns anyone who has illegally purchased hydrocodone against taking them because of the deaths.
Pills legally obtained via a valid prescription are safe and can be used as prescribed, according to the sheriff’s office.
Fetanyl is prescribed to treat severe pain and is estimated to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Associated Press.