Prescription oxycodone tablets (inset) shown in a light blue shade. Springfield police officers shared a photograph of “counterfeit oxycodone” pills recently seized during investigations in a darker shade. Some of the impostor drugs contain Fentanyl, an opioid that is potentially lethal even in small doses. (Photo: Springfield Police Department)

The Springfield Police Department reports that its officers seized some pills made to look like common opioids, but the pills contain the potentially lethal drug Fentanyl.

The pills that officers seized look like Oxycodone or Percocet tablets manufactured by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, bearing a block letter “M” stamp on each pill. According to Springfield police, the counterfeit pills have caused “several overdoses” and contain Fentanyl.

Oxycodone and Percocet are opioid medications commonly prescribed by physicians to treat patients with pain. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and is commonly added to heroin or other controlled substances to increase its potency. Fentanyl has also been linked to a string of overdose deaths in Springfield, including a breakout of 70 deaths in a single month in 2019.

“Illegally manufactured Fentanyl can be extremely dangerous and has been a major contributor to opioid-related overdoses,” a statement from Springfield police issued Feb. 25 reads.

In 2021, the Springfield Police Department responded to 566 calls for service involving overdoses. Sixty-one people died. In 2022, Springfield police have responded to 86 calls for service involving overdoses, and eight people have died.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, “Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic and historically has been a popular drug of abuse among the narcotic abusing population.”

Police advise anyone taking prescription medications to only obtain them from a licensed medical prescriber or pharmacy.

For help with addiction in Springfield

Burrell Behavioral Health: http://www.burrellcenter.com/our-services/recovery-services

CoxHealth Center for Addictions: http://www.coxhealth.com/services/mental-health/center-addictions/

Mercy Chemical Dependency Services: http://www.mercy.net/practice/mercy-chemical-dependency-services-springfield/

Jordan Valley Substance Use Disorder Services: http://www.jordanvalley.org/services/substance-use/

SAMHSA National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger