Potentially dangerous look-alike drugs being found in west Alabama

Potentially dangerous look-alike drugs being found in west Alabama
Source: Tuscaloosa Police Department
Source: Tuscaloosa Police Department

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Authorities want you to be on the lookout for copycat prescription pills that could pose a danger to you.

Recently Tuscaloosa Police seized Etizolam pills, which are sedatives. Cops say they are Xanax look-alike pills with other substances in them. Lt. Teena Richardson says the pills are becoming a growing trend among college students. Before becoming Tuscaloosa Police Department's spokesperson, Richardson worked in narcotics for over 20 years. She's very familiar with copycat drugs.

"A lot of people who are consuming these substances, they don't know what they are putting into their bodies," Richardson said.

Richardson says look-alike pills are cheaper to make and dealers mark the prices up not knowing what's actually in them.

"You don't know what the manufacture is putting in it and that's what's showing up in a lot of these look-alike drugs is because although they market it as one thing, when you actually consume it in your body, it's having a different effect," Richardson said.

In other parts of the country, officials say drug dealers are selling what appears to be Oxycodone or Percocet painkillers but are turning out to the be powerful drug Fentanyl which is causing numerous overdoses in a number of states, including nearby Tennessee. Richardson says they aren't seeing those pills in Tuscaloosa yet but caution it could only be a matter of time.

"As the trend changes and it moves across the country, then I'm sure that we will eventually see that popping up in this area," Richardson added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are on the rise driven mostly by Heroin and prescription painkillers. The Associated Press reports in 2014, overdose deaths in the U.S. surpassed 47,00, up from seven percent from 2013.

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