Deadly consequences of fake painkillers laced with fentanyl

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The rising opioid epidemic now includes fake painkillers that are laced with fentanyl, and it's having deadly consequences.

The city has seen many overdoses from what people believe is a Percocet pill, and hen dying of an overdose. One toxicologist says fentanyl overdoses have more than doubled through the years.

"The most common reason for people dying is opiates, and the most common these last years is fentanyl," said Dr. Frank Lovecchio, a toxicologist at Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. Lovecchio says about three years ago, they treated about 27 patients who had fentanyl exposure. Now, it's about 300 a year, representing a dramatic increase.

"Never take medication unless it's prescribed by a doctor," said Lovecchio, who believes fentanyl use has gone up because physicians have gotten better at prescribing less opiates.

"Physicians have gotten better at prescribing less, trying not to use opiates," said Lovecchio. "Only in rare instances and limit it to three days."

So how can people help their kids and others not get addicted to pills? It starts from their home, by making sure that pills in cabinets are disposed of. There are places where people legally dump pills off.

Arizona Department of Health Services - Prescription Drug Drop Off Locations