By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The Chillicothe Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies are warning the public on the dangers of counterfeit pills after a teenager in Chillicothe died Sunday due to a counterfeit pill overdose.
Officers responded to a call in the 400 block of Cherry Street in Chillicothe late Sunday morning and found a 17-year-old girl, who was unresponsive and not breathing. The girl was dead when officers got there.
Sergeant Jeremiah Grider with the Chillicothe Police Department says there have been several counterfeit pill overdoses in the area recently – pills that are laced with fentanyl.
“This is the first person who has died as a result from it,” Grider said. “But, we have seen several overdoses due to the same manufactured medication.”
Police have arrested a 33-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman in connection with the death of the teenage girl Chillicothe, who police say ingested counterfeit prescription pills.
“The actual pills themselves are being made outside of our area,” Grider said. “Basically, what they’re doing is taking pain prescription medicine and lacing it with fentanyl.”
Murder charges are being sought in the case. Both the man and woman are awaiting the filing of formal charges. They’re being held at the Daviess-DeKalb County Regional Jail.
Sergeant Grider says these counterfeit pills contain dangerous amounts of controlled substances, which can lead to an overdose or death.
“Fentanyl is an opioid,” Grider said. “A very powerful opioid. And of course, there’s an opioid epidemic the U.S. is going through right now. I think this is just a new way to do it and an easy way to do it.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration says fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including teens and young adults.
The number of DEA-seized counterfeit pills with fentanyl has jumped nearly 430 percent since 2019.
Grider reminds families to have these conversations with their kids, and reminds everyone to never take prescription medication unless they prescribed to you by your own doctor.
“Parents just need to talk to their children and make their children aware,” he said. “With teenagers, sometimes you just need to ask those hard questions.”
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