New concerns about fentanyl laced pills circulating in Mid-Michigan

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - New concerns are rising about fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl in Genesee County.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency issued a warning earlier this week about these fake pills circulating in communities across the country. Mid-Michigan is certainly no exception.

There’s some good things happening in the county right now, and some not so good things. Both can be attributed to this rapid rise of fake pills laced with fentanyl going around.

“I used to print my own prescriptions in 97. I should be in prison,” said Denise Terryah, a recovering fentanyl addict.

When asked if they ever came after her, she said, “Yeah once.”

Terryah is referring to her previous life as a woman enslaved to the deep, dark depths of drug addiction. About 10 to 11 years ago, she overdosed on fentanyl up to three times per day. She considers herself lucky to be standing and breathing.

“My husband usually found me, somebody usually found me. I would come out of it. they would call an ambulance,” she said.

Terryah was addicted to fentanyl long before the drug became widely known.

But gone are the days of playing Russian Roulette with just the drug itself. It’s now in other illegal and prescription drugs in Genesee County.

“Fentanyl is being mixed into everything from pills to heroin. I’ve even heard it being sprinkled on some marijuana,” said Aaron Rubio with the United Community Action Network.

He said that overdoses are down across Genesee County this month alone.

Typically, there are around 45 Narcan administrations from EMS providers every two weeks in the county. Right now, they’re seeing around 30. On the other hand, deaths by overdose are up.

Rubio said that there are typically four or five deaths by overdose per two-week period. However for the first 2.5 weeks of September, there were 13 deaths.

“We have some people that are maybe doing cocaine, meth -- other drugs outside of opiates who have no tolerance to opiates -- buying that Percocet, Xanax, these pill pressed bars that are getting and people are mixing fentanyl in those,” said Rubio.

So what can the community do at home to help be a part of this solution? Rubio said that it all starts in the medicine cabinet.

U-CAN will be hosting a DEA prescription drug takeback day Oct. 23 at Ascension Genesys Hospital from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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