Two parents who lost children to fentanyl poisoning appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday to react to the DEA issuing a public safety alert after law enforcement officials announced they have seized more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills this year.
“According to the California drug task force, between 8-10% of these drugs are being seized at the southern border. They say there were 9.6 million pills, so if you imagine that only 8% to 10% of those pills are being seized, how many exactly do we have in the country right now? There are enough pills to kill every man, woman, and child in California, and probably much much more,” Jamie Puerta said.
Puerta lost his 16-year-old son Daniel due to fentanyl poisoning. He said his son obtained what he believed to be an Oxycontin pill via communications on Snapchat.
“He consumed only half of that pill and passed away really quickly in the night. I found him dead in the morning. Heartbreaking,” Puerta said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration on Tuesday issued an alert to the American public about the alarming increase of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.
“International and domestic criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills, falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills, and killing unsuspecting Americans. These counterfeit pills are easy to purchase, widely available, and often contain deadly doses of fentanyl,” the public safety alert stated on the DEA’s website.
“Pills purchased outside of a licensed pharmacy are illegal, dangerous, and potentially lethal. This alert does not apply to legitimate pharmaceutical medications prescribed by medical professionals and dispensed by pharmacists.”
The public safety alert came after the DEA and its law enforcement partners seized lethal counterfeit pills at record rates. Law enforcement has seized more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills this year so far, which is more than the last two years combined.
Furthermore, the DEA reported a “staggering” rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least “two milligrams of fentanyl, an amount that is considered a deadly dose.”
“The number of DEA-seized counterfeit pills with fentanyl has jumped nearly 430 percent since 2019, a staggering increase. DEA laboratory testing further reveals that today, two out of every five pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose. Additionally, methamphetamine is increasingly being pressed into counterfeit pills,” the public safety alert stated.
Amy Neville lost her 14-year-old son to a counterfeit pill, sharing a story similar to Puerta’s. Neville said that her son made the choice to “experiment” with what he thought was Oxycontin. Her son thought he was getting a “legitimate prescription pill” from a drug dealer. However, that was not the case. Her son took a single pill that contained enough fentanyl to kill four people.
Neville said that the alert “means the word is finally getting out and the DEA and the administration will take this problem seriously.”
“It’s really unfortunate that this didn’t happen sooner when the problem first started occurring, and I really hope that it means that they will aggressively go after these drug dealers, especially those that are preying on our children through social media such as Snapchat and Facebook,” Neville said.
In August, U.S. agents uncovered an extensive tunnel connecting to that may have served as part of a massive trafficking operation.
“They confiscated over 5,400 pounds of fentanyl and that is enough to kill around 1.2 billion people, that ought to tell you enough. … It is unbelievable, you go to the Rio Grande Valley and you see what Border Patrol has confiscated, it’s unimaginable,” she said.
Fox News’ Peter Aiken contributed to this report.
Joshua Q. Nelson is a reporter for FoxNews.com. You can find him on Twitter @joshuaqnelson.