Record number of overdoses in Fort Wayne blamed on fake pills, pandemic stress

15 Finds Out

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A high number of overdoses in Fort Wayne are now being blamed on a counterfeit drug. Residents believe they’re taking oxycodone but it’s actually fentanyl.

15 Finds Out went looking into where the drugs came from.

Police told WANE 15 that overdoses more than doubled in September compared to the same time last year. There were 171 non-fatal overdoses in September, according to police, compared to 83 in September 2019.

Police said the drugs are coming from Mexico and China.

“Those things, once they’re cross the borders, they are just going throughout the United States,” Fort Wayne Police spokesperson Sgt. Sofia Rosales-Scatena said. “This is a problem every community is having. It’s not just a Fort Wayne thing. We just see this upswing now and again but through these supply chains they are easy to smuggle and easy to distribute.”

Police say the pills look like the prescription oxycodone. They can be blue, green or white, with the letter “M” on one side and the number “20” on the other. There’s also a line in the middle.

The stress of the pandemic is also partly to blame for the increased number of overdoses, police said.

“We’ve had a high amount of people turning to drugs and alcohol during this tumultuous year,” said Rosales-Scatena. “So we are hoping people really start looking into rehab and trying to get off of these pills. It can be done. It is going to take some work but we encourage people to do that.”

If anyone needs help breaking an addiction, you can call the Hope and Recovery Team at (260) 427-5801. Anyone who comes across pills like those described should call police immediately.

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