Nationally Recognized Addiction Expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi, Explains the Prevalence and Dangers of Counterfeit Drugs
New York, NY – February 08, 2018 – The opioid epidemic sweeping across America has caused several state governments to impose limits on initial opioid prescriptions in order to avoid the potential abuse of the pain pills. This crackdown on opioid prescriptions has led to the rising popularity of a more deadly scourge: “Pressed Pills.” With fewer prescription pills in circulation, drug cartels, as well as home-based do-it-yourself pill makers, have moved to fill the gap by producing pills that look almost exactly like popular branded pills, such as Percocet and Oxycodone, with one deadly difference – they are more likely to contain Fentanyl or equivalent chemical ingredients. According to nationally recognized Addiction Expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi, Medical Director of Center for Network Therapy, the prevalence of pressed pills is causing a new wave of overdose deaths as people believe the “label” on these counterfeit drugs and assume they know the potency of the pills.
States such as New Jersey have moved to limit the initial supply of prescription opioid pain pills to seven days. Lawmakers believed limiting the supply of these easily abused prescription pills would reduce the number of patients becoming dependent or addicted, as well as lessen the number of unused or unwanted pills diverted for recreational use.
“People turn to the streets to buy branded opioid pain medications for several reasons,” explained Dr. Cidambi. “Some of them did not want to take a chance with the varying potency of heroin. Branded pills assured these ‘buyers’ that the potency was consistent. Others, who have prescribed pain pills for regular use, went to the street to fulfill their need for extra pills. Of course, these are just two motivations as to why people sought out prescription pain pills on the streets, but pills are abused by many more people for a wide range of reasons.”
According to Dr. Cidambi, when these branded pills became hard to get on the street due to prescription limitations, the drug cartels and home-based operations jumped right in. Pills were made in Mexico and shipped to America, but often they were made in small home-based operations. Chemicals needed to make the pills (usually fentanyl or its analogs) are obtained over the dark web and press pills are imported from China. Confiscations of pill presses were up 19 times in 2017 as compared to 2011.
“Although most of these pain pills contain fentanyl or its equivalents, they can also contain a cocktail of potent substances with unknown reactions in the body. These pills are not only marked as Oxycodone and Percocet but also carry popular benzodiazepine brand names like Xanax,” said Dr. Cidambi. “Most of these pressed pills contain fentanyl or fentanyl analogs as they are incredibly cheap: just 2 pounds of fentanyl can be used to produce 1 million pills.”
According to the Partnership for Safe Medications*, counterfeit medications containing fentanyl have been found in over 40 states and have killed over a dozen people. “If you are an individual who is chemically dependent on drugs and believe branded prescription medications are safer to abuse, think again,” said Dr. Cidambi. “The consequences of ingesting these “pressed pills” are unknowable. Apart from the significant risk of overdose, other risks such as organ failure are not out of the realm. Stay away from them and, instead, seek treatment.”
About Dr. Indra Cidambi
Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is recognized as a leading expert and pioneer in the field of Addiction Medicine. Under her leadership, the Center for Network Therapy started New Jersey’s first state-licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification program for all substances nearly three years ago. Dr. Cidambi is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and double Board Certified in Addiction Medicine (ABAM, ABPN). She is the Vice President of the New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine. She is fluent in five languages, including Russian.
About the Center for Network Therapy
Center for Network Therapy (CNT) was the first facility in New Jersey to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification Services for all substances of abuse – alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, opiates and other substances of abuse. Led by a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses closely monitor each patient’s progress. With CNT’s superior client care and high-quality treatment, Dr. Cidambi and her clinical team have successfully detoxed roughly 1500 patients in five years. CNT also offers Partial Care and IOP programs.Share