WilCo sees spike in opioid overdose calls, counterfeit pills

Pills from pill bottle

WILLIAMSON COUNTY (Talk1370.com) -- Williamson County officials are sounding the alarm on a concerning spike they've seen in opioid overdose calls involving counterfeit pills recently.

Officials say the number of overdose calls has increased five-fold since the beginning of April, all of which have involved counterfeit pills.

Two different types of pills have been seen in the overdose calls:

  • The majority of the calls involve a round blue pill with the letter M on one side. Officials say they're counterfeit oxycodone 30 mg pills and are commonly pressed, containing a dangerous amount of illicitly manufactured fentanyl. 15 of the calls so far have fallen into this category.
  • The other pills are white, rectangular, and have three score marks on one side, and are pressed to look like Xanax 2 mg “bars.” These are presumed to contain illicitly manufactured fentanyl, as the overdose was reversed by naloxone. Thus far, there has only been one such incident involving pressed Xanax this month.

Fentanyl is a potent opioid that is approximately 100 times stronger than morphine. A fentanyl overdose can cause rapid loss of consciousness and respiratory arrest.

Naloxone (trade name Narcan) can reverse a fentanyl overdose if administered in a timely manner following the overdose. Under Texas law, anyone can possess and administer naloxone in a presumed opioid overdose. In April 2018, the US Surgeon General released an advisory urging more Americans to learn how to use naloxone and carry the life-saving medication.

Individuals looking to obtain a Narcan kit and training can call Williamson County's Mobile Outreach Team at 512-864-8277.

To learn more about how individuals can recognize and respond to an opioid overdose, visit https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/treatment/overdose-response.

For information on how to get help for addiction, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or go to https://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov to find a treatment center.