Hampden DA warns against counterfeit prescription drugs

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Opioid-related deaths are on the rise in Massachusetts with 2021 surpassing 2020 in numbers and now authorities are warning of a new concern – counterfeit prescription drugs – and young people are at risk. risk.

“So what we’re seeing right now is an increase across the commonwealth and particularly here in western Massachusetts of drugs claiming to be prescription drugs on the illicit market and things like Adderall, in particular, where teenagers can take them,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said.

Gulluni told Western Mass News that her office wants to spread the word about counterfeit prescription drugs ending up in the hands of young people.

“These are often mixtures that include fentanyl and when something includes fentanyl it’s very dangerous,” Gulluni added.

This plays into an opioid crisis that continues to claim young victims. In 2021, Massachusetts recorded a 9% increase in opioid-related deaths from the previous year. Of those cases, 93% tested positive for fentanyl, and 5% of those who died were between the ages of 15 and 24.

A 2021 survey in Springfield found that seven percent of eighth graders said they had used a prescription drug that wasn’t theirs in the past 30 days and about four percent of tenth graders and twelfth reported the same.

Gulluni told us that many teenagers obtain these drugs through social media platforms.

“Much of the distribution of these types of pills and other drugs is now turning to social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram, other places where teenagers hang out…and potential buyers communicate via emojis,” Gulluni explained.

Now the prosecutor’s office is working to educate parents about the dangers of these pills

“So this is being put together by the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, the Substance Abuse Task Force. He talks about this emerging threat. It’s 6pm on Tuesday August 16 at Ludlow Secondary School… We’ll have a youth panel and we’ll talk about this issue,” Gulluni said.

Tuesday’s event will take place on Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ludlow High School on Chapin Street.

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