OMAHA, Neb. – As students across South Dakota prepare for a return to school, the Drug Enforcement Administration Omaha Division encourages families to make time for conversations about the dangers of drug use and consequences of experimentation.
Methamphetamine and fake pill seizures remain high in South Dakota, and the DEA wants to raise awareness to the drug marketing being used to target youth.
“We’ve seen methamphetamine pressed into pills shaped like marshmallows from cereal and fake pills laced with fentanyl made to look like Xanax, Adderall, Oxy and other legitimate pharmaceuticals,” DEA Omaha Division Special Agent in Charge Justin C. King said. “In addition, drug cartels are trying to entice a younger audience through the use of social media and the dark web. Make no mistake, these organizations know exactly what they’re doing as they try to recruit their next life-long customer.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 108,000 overdose deaths in a 12-month span ending February 2022. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are the primary driver behind the increase in drug overdose deaths.
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin with a potentially lethal dose, two milligrams, small enough to fit on the tip of a sharpened No. 2 pencil.
DEA lab testing reveals that four out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. In response to the growing threat, the DEA announced its One Pill Can Kill campaign in the fall of 2021, posting the website www.dea.gov/OnePill as a resource for those looking to learn more about fake pills.
Drug dealers are taking advantage of today’s technology, turning to smartphones as a one-stop shop to market, sell, buy and deliver deadly, fake prescription pills and other dangerous drugs.
“It can be a hard conversation to start, but talk with the children in your life and help them realize the dangers that can come from experimenting and misusing drugs,” King said. “Kids are constantly asked to try new things. Let’s educate these students so that when presented with the temptation to experiment, they make the choice to walk away and save themselves, their families and their communities the heartbreak of addiction, overdose and death.”