The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has just wrapped up a major surge aimed at stopping a huge influx of fentanyl and fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl, and several seizures were made in the Garden State.

About 40% of the phony prescription pills seized contained enough fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, to be deadly.

The market is being flooded with counterfeit Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall and Xanax.

The fentanyl, which is being produced in China, is shipped into Mexico where it’s made into counterfeit prescription pills.

“What people out there are thinking is they’re getting legitimate Xanax, legitimate Oxycontin, and it’s not, it’s fentanyl, and only 2 milligrams of fentanyl can kill you,” DEA New Jersey Division Special Agent in Charge Susan Gibson said.

Gibson explained these fake pills are so powerful they can quickly cause an overdose death before the user realizes what is happening.

“So if you take two specks of a salt-like substance on the tip of a pencil ...  it can kill you,” she said.

A recent seizure in New Jersey netted 30 kilograms of fentanyl, enough to be converted into about 15 million counterfeit pills. Since 2019, enough fentanyl has been seized in the Garden State to manufacture 133.8 million fake pills.

“This fentanyl that’s out there, it’s deadly, we’ve got to get the message to our kids to make sure they know what they’re putting in their body. It doesn’t take much: 4 out of 10 pills out there can be deadly,” she said.

Across the country, 810 arrests were made, 1.8 fentanyl-laced fake pills were seized along with an additional 268 kilograms of other pills, 158 weapons, $170,000 in cash and $50,000 in cryptocurrency.

On October 23, the DEA is sponsoring a national Take Back initiative that aims to collect pills being used illegally and improperly.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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