DEA finds 6 in 10 fake prescription pills laced with deadly dose of fentanyl

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's sounding the alarm after finding six in 10 fake prescription pills laced with a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl.

We want to be clear -- we're talking about counterfeit pills seized by investigators, not the pills you get from a doctor. The DEA just completed its latest annual study, finding the intensity of deadly fentanyl in these pills is greater than ever.

More than half of all fentanyl-laced prescription pills being trafficked across the country now contain so much fentanyl they could kill you.

"The previous number was four in 10 contained a lethal dose, and now DEA's reporting information from our national laboratory system is six in 10," said John McGarry, assistant special agent in Chicago, DEA Wisconsin. 

The latest report emphasizes the increasing need for public awareness. 

"Here in Wisconsin, in the last month, we have seized over 50 kilograms of fentanyl on investigations and tens of thousands of illicit fentanyl pills. Those are numbers we have not seen previously and far eclipse the previous seizure totals year to date," said McGarry. 

If you got a pill from a friend or through social media, the DEA's administrator says you might be unknowingly taking one that's mass produced by the Sinaloa cartel and Jalisco cartel in Mexico and disguised as Xanax, oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin or others. 

"If you haven't procured something from a legitimate medical source, whether that be a pharmacy or a physician via prescription, you are potentially taking a lethal substance into your body," said McGarry.

Logan Rachwal never made it past 19. The UWM student had fentanyl in his body when he died Valentine's Day 2021.

"You know you can look back and say you could do everything you could possibly do right, and this world could rip a kid away from a family in a heartbeat," said Erin Rachwal.

The Rachwals have turned their grief into optimism, hoping to prevent even one family from devastating loss.

"If someone would've said to me 15 years ago, your son's gonna die of drugs, I would've said you're crazy. There's no way, not my kid. And my perspective has changed on that," said Rachwal.

The Love Logan Foundation's got billboards up in New York, on I-94 in Waukesha, and soon some Waukesha bus shelters will have them too. 

Mom, dad, and Logan's brother plan to spend the upcoming two-year anniversary of Logan's death together.

"The most important thing to my husband and I at this point is we just help that other kid, Kaden. You know, he's struggling, and there's so many kids out there who are losing their siblings and they're forgotten about, I mean a lot of attention goes on to the parents," said Rachwal.

The fentanyl problem is twofold. The DEA's trying to go after the cartels, but they're also working to get people to want to stop taking them. 

It's like playing with your life. You just don't know if the pill you got has a deadly dose in it.

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