PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Police in Prince George's County are warning of pills that look like prescription painkillers, but are actually laced with the deadly drug fentanyl. And they are linking these tainted drugs to two deaths and multiple non-fatal overdoses in the county.
"So, they're thinking, 'I'm getting a painkiller.' When in fact, what they're getting is fentanyl laced pill," said Major Chad Schmick of the Prince George's County Police Department about those believed to have overdosed on the pills.
"What we're finding is a rise of overdose scenes in which we're recovering those type of pills on the scene," said Schmick who commands the department's Narcotic Enforcement Division.
Specifically, he says his team is finding fentanyl in blue pills marked with an "M" and made to look like a prescription painkillers.
Maj. Schmick says the pills are linked to multiple overdoses across Prince George's County.
"No specific group, no specific age range or culture or anything like that. It's across the board," he said.
And the overdoses include two recent fatal overdoses where fentanyl is the suspected cause of death.
"Ultimately with our investigations we'd like to hold the persons accountable that are providing these pills...but preliminarily, right now, the big message is get everybody talking about this to warn them about the dangers," Schmick said.
"If you are getting anything from anybody that is not a medical professional, make the assumption that what you're taking in is poison...and assume it can kill you," he said.
Police say fentanyl is a cheap way for someone in the illegal supply chain to cut other drugs and increase profits. Drug dealers may not even know they're selling the more deadly fentanyl.
The Major says as little as a 'microgram' of fentanyl can be deadly, and that is why they want parents talking to their kids and kids warning each other.