Counterfeit drug scourge a national crisis. Time to treat it that way

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Counterfeit drugs continue to threaten the lives and health of millions of Americans. Two years ago, the DEA warned that Mexican cartels are mass-producing fake pills using chemicals procured from China, marketing them as legitimate prescription pills, and killing many thousands of unsuspecting Americans. 

Made to look like legitimate prescription drugs, such as Percocet, Xanax or Adderall, and readily available over social media and the internet, these fake pills are frequently laced with potentially fatal doses of fentanyl. So far this year the DEA has seized 69 million fentanyl-laced pills – over three times the number seized two years ago.

Drug overdose deaths continue to climb, standing at 109,000 last year – with 70% of the deaths attributable to fentanyl. The same sad, familiar story is repeated hundreds of times a day in local news around the country: a college student unwittingly takes a phony Xanax pill and never wakes up; a high schooler takes what looks like an Adderall and falls into a coma; and on and on it goes.

Fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP)

These pills from Mexico are an acute

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