Coast-to-Coast Drug Trafficking Investigation “Poison Pill,” Spearheaded By A.G.’s Organized Crime Task Force, Uncovered Potentially Lethal, Fentanyl-laced Pills, Intentionally Disguised As Oxycodone.
New York, NY - September 8, 2017 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman held a press conference today to issue an urgent public health alert about a dangerous and potentially lethal new drug that has made its way into Western New York.
During the course of an ongoing, coast-to-coast investigation into drug trafficking in Western New York, investigators with A.G. Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force intercepted a package containing 500 fentanyl-laced blue pills disguised as replica oxycodone. This is the first time fentanyl-laced pills have appeared in Western New York. Similar fentanyl-laced pills disguised as oxycodone have been linked to several overdose deaths in California.
“These dealers were playing Russian Roulette with the lives of New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “These poison pills are the latest troubling development in our state’s opioid crisis. I want to warn strongly against taking any prescription drugs you did not get directly from the pharmacy yourself. A single fentanyl-laced pill can kill you. Please be safe and stay vigilant.”
Fentanyl is fifty times stronger than heroin and a dose just the size of a few grains of sand can be lethal. Unscrupulous drug dealers often cut fentanyl into other drugs because it is relatively inexpensive and can be mixed with other substances to increase a dealer’s profit.
Attorney General Schneiderman explained that the blue pills, which were purposely designed to look like prescription-strength oxycodone, are extremely dangerous as the unsuspecting user could be ingesting a potentially deadly quantity of fentanyl. The pills were likely mixed by hand by drug traffickers and, as such, there is no way for an unsuspecting user to know exactly how much fentanyl is in each pill.
The investigation is the latest effort in the Attorney General’s SURGE Initiative (Suburban and Upstate Response to the Growing Epidemic), a commitment to collaborating with state and local law enforcement to root out violent gangs and drug dealers. Launched in April 2017, the SURGE Initiative focuses on the communities that have been hardest hit by drug trafficking and drug abuse across New York State. In the months since the SURGE Initiative was launched, the Attorney General’s office has arrested more than 260 dealers across the state.
Attorney General Schneiderman emphasized that oxycodone should only be purchased directly from a pharmacy. Ingesting pills containing fentanyl is extremely dangerous and could prove deadly.
If you believe you have seen these disguised pills, please contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-771-7755 or your local police department.