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Counterfeit Machines Playing Critical Role In Getting Fake Pills To Americans

18 March 2017, 11:27 am EDT By Amy Gordon Tech Times
Counterfeit pill presses have been seized by the U.S. customs. The easy availability of fentanyl and counterfeit pill press machines made it easier to process pills.  ( Jason Rogers | Flickr )

The number of machines arriving in the U.S. which make counterfeit pills is a major concern. The amount of pill presses which are getting seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has increased 19 times in the last six years.

At the time when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Justice Department is handling the nationwide issue of drug overdose by synthetic fentanyl, counterfeit machines are doing their job to bring deadly drugs in America.

The alarming bit is that one cannot discern the difference between the counterfeit pill making machines and the real ones.

"To the naked eye, you can't tell the difference," said John Martin, special agent in charge of the DEA's San Francisco division.

He also added that counterfeit pills can't be made without the help of pill presses.

What Is a Counterfeit Pill?

Counterfeit pills are publically traded as oxycodone or Xanax, but if it gets mixed with fentanyl then it can be lethal. This painkiller was only spotted once in a dispensary, but currently China makes it in synthetic form and it is easily available in the black markets of America.

Why Is It So Easy To make?

Pill presses are widely available online and anyone can easily buy them. They can be used to press powder and make a pill, which looks absolutely authentic. Many people have passed away because of consuming the pills which they assume to be a genuine painkiller. However, those are actually counterfeit pills that include fentanyl per the authorities.

The death case of famous pop icon Prince can be considered as one of the most prominent cases of counterfeit pills. Police spotted pills without any label mixed with fentanyl in the pop icon's home, and the same drug was spotted in his body.

Pill presses have made the process of making drugs and earning loads of money very easy for drug dealers as well - they don't even need to be a part of any major drug dealing group.

Legal Action Against The Problem

Nearly 43 percent of the products which come to America from the other countries, enter via Port of Long Beach, California. The custom authorities seize any suspicious pill press machines even if they are entering the country legally.

Pill press machines are considered legal only if they have proper registration with the DEA prior to the shipping process. However, there are plenty of pill press machines which are illegal.

Spotting the illegal machines is hard. In every 7.8 seconds a new container of drugs is produced at the port. However, through different technological process, custom authorities successfully capture several illegal pill presses. They have captured more than 80 machines since 2013.

After the visit of Chuck Rosenberg, the acting DEA administrator to China, to discuss the ban of shipping synthetic fentanyl and pill presses to the U.S., six different types of synthetic fentanyl have been outlawed by the government of China.

Photo: Jason Rogers | Flickr

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