Portland Police Bureau warns public of counterfeit prescription drugs

The Portland Police Bureau is warning the community about counterfeit prescription drugs that are being illegally sold in the city, around Oregon and online. Photo courtesy Portland Police Bureau

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Police Bureau is warning the community about counterfeit prescription drugs that are being illegally sold in the city, around Oregon and online.

Police say the illegal counterfeit drugs are marketed and sold as prescription drugs such as Xanax, Oxycodone, Alprazolam and others.

According to the Oregon State Crime Lab, the counterfeit drugs often contain substances that can and have caused overdose deaths. Police have investigated counterfeit oxycodone tablet cases where the pills actually contained heroin, fentanyl, tramadol, alprazolam and other substances.

In another case, fake Xanax pills contained the drug U-47700, a strong and deadly synthetic opioid.

Police say the imprints and markings on the pills resemble the actual prescription pills and the imprints on the counterfeit pills constantly change, so there is no way to identify counterfeits just by their markings.

Officers say the public should not purchase medication from black market dealers or from unlicensed distributors because they could contain deadly opioids or opioid analogs. Instead, all prescribed medication should be obtained from licensed professionals.

“Any pill not purchased from a pharmacy should be considered counterfeit," said Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer, "You will almost never be getting what you think you are buying, even if it looks legit. And that deception could kill you."

Local health officials identified more than 180 opioid overdose deaths in 2017 and the same pace continues in 2018.

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