MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina’s Opioid Emergency Response Team has a warning as it’s watching overdoses tied to a counterfeit painkiller.
The response team says there have been over 500 suspected overdoses tied to counterfeit Roxicodone since January 2020. The counterfeit pills are typically laced with potent fentanyl.
“These pills are made with such a potent substance, that they are just extremely dangerous,” Director of SC Dept. of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Sara Goldsby said.
Goldsby said the majority of the overdoses with this type of pill have been happening in the Upstate.
“We’ve been monitoring trends with these illicitly made blue pills over the last year,” she explained. “We saw a higher level of activity in the Western part of the state, particularly over the summer where we were just getting reports of suspected overdose related to blue pills.”
A higher percentage of overdoses involved people in their twenties. Many report overdosing after only half a pill.
“There are a number of folks who are probably seeking these substances, who are obtaining them thinking that they’re safe and then finding out that they’re not safe,” Goldsby said.
Horry County coroner Robert Edge said he hasn’t seen any cases here that involve these pills, but said overall overdose deaths could top last year.
“I think last year we had somewhere 125, 130. If this trend goes on we’ll probably do 160, 70,” Edge said.
Edge said he believes more dangerous drug combinations going around could be to blame.
“Things have gotten worse in terms of the number of overdoses that have occurred and the deaths that have occurred because of those overdoses nationwide,” Goldsby said of recent trends. She is hopeful though that things are beginning to level off a bit after a bad year of overdoses tied to the pandemic.
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