Can You Spot Black Market Pain Pills?
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ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says that black market fentanyl -- which is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin -- is commonly used in counterfeit pain pills.
The Doctors producer Leslie Marcus heads to the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the American/Mexican border near San Diego to meet with DEA agents, who say this is where these black market drugs are coming into the country.
DEA Special Agent Amy Roderick explains that the fentanyl is coming into the country via smuggling through cars, people, and luggage. The drugs are then dispersed throughout the country. Special Agent Roderick says that the drug cartels are also able to make the drugs appear authentic through the use of pill presses, which tricks people into taking these fraudulent pills.
Special Agent Roderick warns against taking any pill that has been purchased from the street, telling Leslie, "Pill shopping for any kind of drug on the street is like playing Russian roulette."
Leslie is shown tablets that appear indistinguishable from an authentic prescription pill and is told that even the experts are often unable to tell the difference.
During her research, Leslie also discovered that carfentanil, an opioid which is stronger than fentanyl and stronger than morphine, is also being used in black market pills. Recovery specialist Bob Forrest from Alo House says that a single dose of NARCAN, the drug used to treat an opioid overdose, would not effectively treat someone who has overdosed on carfentanil.