The pink round Pill with the imprint OP 20 has been identified as Oxycodone Hydrochloride Extended-Release 20 mg supplied by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.. Oxycodone is used in the treatment of chronic pain; pain and belongs to the drug class narcotic analgesics.
OP 20 pill is a powerful painkiller and one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the country. Many people who abuse OP 20 pill start out taking a prescribed amount but as their body develops a tolerance to the drug, they need a higher dose to maintain the same relief or high.
The transition from use to abuse to addiction can be a quick and dangerous road. OP 20 pill is a powerful drug and offers much-needed relief to many people struggling with painful or terminal conditions; as such, it can be hard to stay in control.
The Menace of Fake Oxycodone Pills
The abuse of OP 20 pill has created a sea of drug users looking for the pills. Unfortunately, criminal elements have taken advantage of these by producing counterfeit pills to fuel an epidemic that has already consumed many.
Recently, the DEA issued an alert informing all citizens about an increase in drug overdose deaths tied to counterfeit pills containing the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. Manufactured by Mexican drug trafficking (DTOs), and marketed as a medication such as oxycodone on the illicit drug market, these pills can be deadly. One pill can be enough to kill someone. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine. DEA lab analysis has identified pills ranging from .02 milligrams to 5.1 milligrams of fentanyl per tablet, with 26% of the counterfeit pills tested containing a lethal dose of fentanyl. A deadly dose of fentanyl can be as little as 2 milligrams.
Counterfeit pills purchased online or through social media websites pose a serious public health and safety hazard. These pills may contain the wrong ingredients, contain too little, too much, or no active ingredient at all, or contain other, potentially life-threatening hidden ingredients, such as fentanyl or methamphetamine. DEA urged the public to obtain prescription drugs only from state-licensed pharmacies that are located in the United States, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state authorities can assure the quality of drug manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and labeling. “Counterfeit pills are extremely dangerous, as they often contain toxic or illicit ingredients such as fentanyl, increasing the likelihood of an overdose.
A Claymont, Delaware man was recently sentenced to over 10 years in federal prison for possessing fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl with intent to distribute. According to court documents, Charles Crest, 29, was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after he sold over a thousand fake oxycodone pills to an undercover DEA task force officer. The pills actually contained fentanyl. Inside Crest’s apartment, law enforcement found over 4,000 additional fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl in the dishwasher. DEA agents also found over $5,400 in cash elsewhere in the apartment.
How to Spot Fake OP 20 pill
In their latest report on fake online pharmacies that ply their trade in the United States, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) found more than 1,500 new websites that it considers “Not Recommended,” and of these, 31% are offering illicit prescription drugs. Studies have shown that, poor quality medicines represent a global threat to the public health that can result in treatment ineffectiveness, drug resistance, increased morbidity and mortality rate, economic loss and problems to the healthcare system.
As a consumer, you may not have access to most of the test equipment used by regulatory bodies to verify the identity of a drug product. The following tips will serve as a guide to purchasing genuine OP 20 pills and help you avoid fakes;
Visual inspection as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) (1999) still remains the first step in identifying potential fake drug irrespective of the analytical methods used. This is because such observation serves as a lead to identifying fake products even in the absence of the knowledge of the physical characteristics of a genuine drug product. You are expected to examine carefully both the package and its content before purchase or use.
Visual inspection of the Package
- Examine the package and check if it appears suspicious or different from what you previously know.
- Check if the security seal has been tampered with by looking for breaks or tears in the sealing tape and seals.
- Look for unusual fonts, font sizes, print color, and spelling errors.
Visual inspection of the Dosage form
At this stage, you are meant to Check for differences in the physical appearance (color uniformity, size, shape, consistency etc.) of the drug. As stated by WHO, commonly encountered physical defects that should be looked out for in tablets include:
- Excessive powder and/or pieces of tablets at the bottom of the container (from abraded, crushed or broken tablets);
- Cracks or chips in the tablets, swelling, mottling, discolouration, fusion of tablets;
- Appearance of crystal on the walls of the container or on the tablet.
The source of the drug also determines if you are buying a fake OP 20 pill or not. Buying Mexican OP 20 pill exposes you to a lot of risk. Filling your prescription in a reputable pharmacy greatly reduces your chances of buying fake drugs while buying from illiterate and unqualified vendors who hawk drugs in buses, motor parks and in the streets increases your chances of buying fake drugs.
This is another way of identifying fake OP 20 pill. If the price is far cheaper than what is expected, then you have to think twice. However, this may not always be true especially for some products (fake innovator/generic brands) which may be sold at the same price as the genuine one.
Unexpected side effect
Counterfeit OP 20 pill most of the time contains substances other than the appropriate Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). They may contain incorrect substances, improper dosage or hazardous substances like fentanyl which produce unusual side effects, worsening medical condition after taking it. The medication should be stopped once any of the above is noticed.
Fentanyl testing is one of the most reliable ways of telling a fake from a real OP 20 pill. A new University of Maryland study found fentanyl tops the list of drugs detected in overdose patients at two Baltimore hospital emergency departments. The finding suggests that hospitals and medical systems throughout the United States consider adding fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid linked to most fatal overdoses in Maryland, to their routine drug testing panels. That is the conclusion of researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Currently, fentanyl is not routinely included in these panels nationwide. The procedure described below can help law enforcement agents and public health officials to pick out fentanyl laced powders and pills.
- Crush pill or pour powder into a clean bowl or test tube
- Add ¼ inch of clean water to the powder in the tube or bowl and mix properly
- Dip the end of the test strip into the residue for 15 seconds, remove, and lay on a clean flat surface
NOTE: If the strip does not either have one or two lines, the test is invalid.
According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, consumers who purchase medications online should avoid the following: sites that are located outside of the U.S. that do not indicate any physical address; sites that do not have a license by the relevant State Boards of Pharmacy; sites without a licensed pharmacist to answer questions; and websites that do not require a prescription.
Consumers who wish to purchase drugs over the Internet should look for websites that have the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites seal. These sites, which are created by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, are licensed pharmacies selling FDA-approved medications to discourage the sale of counterfeit drugs from illegitimate online sources.