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By Freepik© Studio

Over the past year, Fentanyl related overdose deaths have spiked amid the pandemic. Researchers have noticed the growing spread of street drugs laced with deadly synthetic opioids including fentanyl. 

Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, said people are often consuming fentanyl “unbeknownst to them,” resulting in a spike of overdose deaths. Most people are taking fentanyl unknowingly as it’s mixed with other drugs. Drug traffickers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA, because it takes little to produce a high, making it a cheap option. 

Riverside County District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, says fentanyl is “now in everything”. Hestrin explained that drug traffickers are using pill-making machines to create counterfeit drugs that look like prescription medications but actually contain fentanyl. He added that drug traffickers don’t have the sophisticated technology to accurately dose pills with non-lethal quantities of fentanyl, essentially leading to a game of Russian roulette.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency has found that 26% of counterfeit tables tested for fentanyl contained a lethal dose. 

The DEA explains on their website that unless a drug is prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a legitimate pharmacy, you can’t know if it’s fake or legitimate. This leaves the user with the risk of a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl laced in their drug of choice. 



  1. Fentanyl overdoses, deaths are up in Riverside County. Many don’t know they’ve taken it. (2021). 
  2. Facts about Fentanyl. United States Drug Enforcement Agency. (2020).