Public safety officials have put out an alert about an increase of apparent oxycodone pills that look to be legitimately manufactured, but actually contain drugs that are exponentially stronger and have already been linked to a fatal overdose. The round blue pill with imprint 30 M has been identified as Oxycodone Hydrochloride 30 mg. Oxycodone, sold under the brand name OxyContin among others, is an opioid medication used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It is usually taken by mouth and is available in immediate release and controlled release formulations.
Counterfeit oxycodone pills contain fentanyl, a potentially lethal synthetic that is more than 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is used to relieve severe pain, such as after surgery or during cancer treatment, and breakthrough pain (flare-ups of intense pain despite round-the-clock narcotic treatment). Consuming a counterfeit M30 pill, also known as deadly blue or ‘Mexican oxy’ is akin to playing Russian Roulette.
Unintentional drug overdose deaths have climbed to record high levels, claiming approximately 70,000 lives in the United States in 2017 alone. The emergence of illicitly manufactured fentanyl mixed into heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit pills, with or without the users’ knowledge, has increased the risk of fatal overdose. A 55% increase in the rate of a fatal drug overdose in NYC was observed from 2015 to 2017, resulting in the highest number of overdose deaths recorded since systematic reporting began in 2000. Toxicology data indicate that this unprecedented increase in overdose deaths is attributable to fentanyl.
In 2016, synthetic opioids (primarily illegal fentanyl) passed prescription opioids as the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the United States. In 2016, synthetic opioids were involved in nearly 50% (19,413) of opioid-related deaths, up from 14% (3,007) in 2010.
How to spot Fake M 30 Oxycodone pills
Identifying fentanyl in the little blue pill m 30 can be very tricky, especially when it is laced into other drugs. It can be almost impossible to tell that it is present just by looking at it because it has no odor or taste, and it’s invisible, so using a testing kit is the only way you can tell if it’s in your drugs. A fake M30 oxycodone pill can be tested for fentanyl contamination using Rapid fentanyl test strips (FTS), which are used to detect fentanyl in illicit drugs prior to consumption. A study conducted by a team of researchers led by Brandon Marshall, an associate professor of epidemiology at Brown University’s School of Public Health, reported that 45 percent of participants who detected fentanyl using the test strips reported using smaller amounts, 42 percent proceeded more slowly when using, and 39 percent used with someone else present. The qualitative interviews found similar changes in behavior to reduce the risk of an overdose.
Originally intended for urine drug tests, fentanyl testing strips are being used as an off-label harm reduction approach to testing the presence or absence of fentanyl and many fentanyl analogs (very closely related drugs) in the unregulated drug supply.
How are fentanyl testing strips used?
Fentanyl testing strips are mostly being used by people who inject opioids. Based on the results of the testing strips, people can choose to implement measures to reduce the risk of an opioid overdose. These reduced risk measures can include using less of the substance, giving slow or test shots, not using alone, using with a naloxone rescue kit nearby, or not using the substances at all. Other unregulated drugs in pill or powder form can also be tested (i.e. cocaine, MDMA, ketamine, and other non-injectable drugs) but must be mixed with water prior to testing. Since fake pills may have fentanyl very unevenly mixed into them, the entire pill should be crushed to be sure none is missed. If used correctly, fentanyl testing strips can detect fentanyl and most of its known analogs, including carfentanil. However, they cannot detect all of them. A negative result, therefore, does not guarantee your drugs are free from all fentanyl analogs or other dangerous synthetic opioids.
Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Overdose
A person that has been exposed to opioids may experience the following symptoms:
- Respiratory distress, respiratory depression, or arrest
- Nervous system depression
- Reduced level or loss of consciousness
- Limp body
If you experience any of these symptoms when exposed to opioids, immediately notify others and call dispatch right away.
Who is at risk for an opioid overdose?
Anyone who takes an opioid can be at risk of an overdose, but you are at higher risk if you:
- Take illegal opioids
- Take more opioid medicine than you are prescribed
- Combine opioids with other medicines and/or alcohol
- Have certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, or reduced kidney or liver function
- Are over 65 years old
What should I do if I think that someone is having an opioid overdose?
If you think someone is having an opioid overdose,
- Call 9-1-1 OR your country’s emergency lines immediately
- Administer naloxone, if it is available. Naloxone is a safe medication that can quickly stop an opioid overdose. It can be injected into the muscle or sprayed into the nose to rapidly block the effects of the opioid on the body.
- Try to keep the person awake and breathing
- Lay the person on their side to prevent choking
- Stay with the person until emergency workers arrive
How can a fentanyl overdose be treated?
As mentioned above, many drug dealers mix the cheaper fentanyl with other drugs like m 30 pill press, heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine to increase their profits, making it often difficult to know which drug is causing the overdose. Naloxone is a medicine that can treat a fentanyl overdose when given right away. It works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of opioid drugs. But fentanyl is stronger than other opioid drugs like morphine and might require multiple doses of naloxone.
Because of this, if you suspect someone has overdosed, the most important step to take is to call 911 so he or she can receive immediate medical attention. Once medical personnel arrives, they will administer naloxone if they suspect an opioid drug is involved.
People who are given naloxone should be monitored for another two hours after the last dose of naloxone is given to make sure breathing does not slow or stop.
Some states have passed laws that allow pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a personal prescription. This allows friends, family, and others in the community to use the auto-injector or nasal spray versions of naloxone to save someone who is overdosing. People who are or know someone at risk for an opioid overdose can be trained on how to give naloxone and can carry it with them in case of an emergency. SEE: How to Spot M 15 Green Pill Fake
Key Players in the Fake Drug Business
Drug manufacturers: This comprises local or foreign manufacturers who produce fake drugs or drugs that are prohibited, unauthorized, and are not allowed by law to be manufactured or sold within the country of production or exported to another country.
Drug importers, wholesalers, and retailers: A greater percentage of drugs used in most developing countries are usually imported from China and India. Some importers connive with manufacturers to produce and import fake or substandard drug products at a cheaper rate. These drug products are then sold to the wholesalers and retailers who may or may not know if the drugs are faked or not.
Criminals and terrorist organizations: Terrorist organizations engage in the manufacture, distribution, and/or sale of fake drug products in a bid to fund their illegal and unrelated activities worldwide. They are known to seek out the weakest link among local jurisdictions. As capacity increases in one region, illicit syndicates and terrorists move on to expose the loopholes in the next. Often, when one illicit facility is shut down, criminal producers are able to quickly reconstitute operations in other jurisdictions within days. With porous borders, lacking or minimal oversight, and opportunities to expand through internet-based sales, the network of these criminal operations continues to spread.
Informal drug sellers: These are individuals with limited drug information who sell drug products in an unregulated manner and without professional consultation. Most times, their aim is to make a double profit even when they are aware of the consequences of selling these fake drug products. They also store and handle drugs in inappropriate conditions that can endanger drug potency.
Consumers/ Patients: Geographical accessibility, cheaper price, flexible pricing policies, close proximity, flexible payment method, perception of confidentiality, high stock out rate at the health facilities, shorter waiting times, longer opening hours, greater confidentiality, more personable social interaction, ease of seeking advice, no separate fee charged for advice, etc., have been identified as some of the reasons why consumers tend to patronize informal drug sellers. These increase their chances of purchasing fake drugs thus, exposing them to the dangers of using fake drug products.