Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Visits Adolescent Treatment Provider with DEA; Discusses Increase in Counterfeit Pills and Available Resources

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Harrisburg, Pa – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) joined the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and The Bridge, a provider of medications used to treat teenage substance abuse problems, to stop the increase in the online availability of counterfeit prescription pills and Discuss treatment options for adolescents with a substance use disorder. The interview took place at Pathways to Recovery, the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) hospital affiliate program that treats people with co-drug use and mental health problems.

“The rise of counterfeit pills and their availability on social media platforms underscores the importance of parents speaking with their children about the risks of taking medications not prescribed by a licensed physician,” DDAP Secretary Jen said Smith. “Adolescent treatment providers such as The Bridge offer specific treatment programs to meet the needs of adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders. We encourage anyone with children or young people in their life who are struggling to seek help.”

Last year the DEA had one Public safety alert Alerting Americans to the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.

“Criminal drug networks are mass-producing counterfeit pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the public,” said Thomas Hodnett, a special agent in charge of the DEA’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Many of these counterfeit pills look like commonly forked prescription pills like oxycodone, alprazolam and stimulants like Adderall. Of most concern, DEA lab tests show that four out of ten counterfeit oxycodone pills contain a lethal dose of illegal fentanyl.”

Counterfeit prescription pills are rife and often sold through social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors. The DEA rolled in A Pill Can Kill campaign, which draws attention to this trend and provides facts about counterfeit pills. The One Pill Can Kill campaign provides media, parents, teachers, educators and community organizations with an opportunity to raise awareness of counterfeit prescription drugs.

“PHMC commends DDAP and the DEA for their continued efforts to address this issue from a public health perspective,” said Angie Gilbert, PHMC executive director of addiction services. “Young people in particular are exposed to a higher risk of addiction. PHMC’s inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs provide support for youth and adults struggling with addiction.”

PHMC is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. The Bridge is a PHMC program of Turning Points for Children, a PHMC affiliate, and a nonprofit behavioral health and opportunity treatment program for youth and their families trying to overcome substance abuse, mental health issues, truancy and other challenges. Since 1971, The Bridge has grown into a leader in treating high-risk youth, serving more than 15,000 youth and families in the Philadelphia area. The program offers outpatient, intensive outpatient and inpatient care for young people aged 14 to 18 years.

Substance Use Disorder Resources

DDAP’s Get Help Now line, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), is a trusted resource for youth and/or their families when they need addiction treatment or resources. The hotline is confidential, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and staffed by trained professionals who connect callers to resources in their community. Callers can also be connected to funding if they need help paying for treatment.

County drug and alcohol bureaus, known as Single County Authorities (SCA), often work closely with schools to provide prevention programs for youth and are available to put individuals in touch with treatments and resources in their local area . For a complete list of SCA contact information, see DDAP website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephanie Dugan – ra-dapressoffice@pa.gov

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