The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) released a statewide public safety warning about counterfeit pills.
Since January 2015, the GBI crime lab has received 454 exhibits of counterfeit pills. Counterfeit pills contain drugs other than those indicated by the markings. For example, the crime lab received a pill with markings consistent with oxycodone.
The crime lab determined that the counterfeit pills contain fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, and U-47700 (pink). “Pink” is considered a synthetic opioid pain medication developed as a dangerous designer drug. Typically the drug appears as a white or light pinkish, chalky powder and is said to have a street value of $30 per gram.
Fatalities due to U-47700 in the United States join the growing incidence of drug overdose deaths due to prescription opioids and other synthetic designer drugs like “spice” and “bath salts.”
This alarming discovery resulted in an internal study to determine the contents of counterfeit pills submitted to the lab by law enforcement agencies throughout Georgia. Metro-Atlanta has the most incidences in the state.
According to the study, the top counterfeited logos represent alprazolam (Xanax) and oxycodone. The most common substances found in the counterfeit pills were depressants and opiates.
Of particular concern were transdermal drugs in the opiate drug class that were disguised as oxycodone, a non-transdermal drug. In 2017, there were 8 fentanyl, 6 furanyl fentanyl, and 15 U-47700 (pink) pills that were embossed as non-transdermal drugs.