Recent drug bust is latest example of growing fentanyl problems

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – About 22,000 pills were found in a recent cave-in in Hinds County.

They looked like oxycodone, but turned out to be Tylenol and fentanyl, which Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Steven Maxwell said had become too common.

“To the natural eye, even some professionals, pharmacists, doctors and even law enforcement professionals cannot distinguish between these fake pills and pharmaceutical grade pills due to science and technology. which are now used to produce these pills,” Maxwell described. “And the presses make these pills look like something that came out of, you know, a pharmacy lab at Eli Lilly or Pfizer.”

Rep. Lee Yancey drafted a tablet press bill during that legislative session, which was later signed into law by the governor.

“It would be an enhanced sentence if the pill press was not registered with the Narcotics Bureau, an additional five years in prison or $5,000,” Yancey noted. “And that would be at the discretion of the judge. But these are enhanced penalties designed to try to curb this terrible epidemic. »

It’s part of a broader attempt by the legislature to crack down on the growing fentanyl problem.

“You know, it’s just a reminder, = every time there’s a drug seizure or every time there’s an overdose death, you know, you don’t know what’s in these pills,” Yancey added. “And you can’t take the risk, a pill can kill.”

Maxwell says there are more of these pill presses in the state than you might think. They find them in busts or through surveys that show people buying them online and using them to make counterfeit drugs.

They believe this batch was made out of state, but they warn against taking any pills that are not directly from a pharmacy or doctor.

“The alarm has been sounded,” Maxwell pointed out. “And so the public must have a very high sense of awareness when it comes to consuming pills.”

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