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The pill that will kill: Fishers Police warn of counterfeit drugs

Three deaths believed to be related to the use of counterfeit pills
fishers counterfeit pills.png
Posted at 7:39 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 08:08:52-05

FISHERS — A dangerous and potentially deadly trend reported across the country is now hitting closer to home in Central Indiana.

Police are warning of counterfeit pills disguised as a common opioid. Pills like oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and alprazolam (Xanax), or other stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall) are being marketed as legitimate prescription pills and often sold on social media platforms.

The Fishers Police Department says they are seeing a rise in counterfeit pills in Hamilton County.

"The old adage of a drug dealer in a dark alley somewhere isn't really the case so much anymore. Online orders [and] social media platforms are making it much easier for people to get their hands on prescription drugs and also these counterfeits," Fishers Police Captain Mike Johnson said.

Johnson said opioids and fentanyl overdoses aren't anything new, but a somewhat newer concern is the counterfeit pills.

The Fishers Police Department has seen three deaths, that they know of, due to counterfeit pills. Just last month, the department seized more than 25,000 counterfeit pills.

"The only thing I can compare it to is a game of Russian Roulette. One pill in a bottle may give someone a high, another pill in the same bottle can be an instant death," said Johnson.

Theresa Juillerat lost her son to an accidental overdose and says it can happen to anyone.

"I call it a weapon of mass destruction. I actually am the one who found my son [and] administered CPR to him," said Juillerat.

Her son died in May of 2020 due to a fentanyl overdose.

"I was oblivious to fentanyl and that it was even the reason my son's life was taken. It can be anyone. My son was 23, had everything ahead of him. Had goals, had dreams, had a child. Wanted to be the best dad and a lot of that was stolen from him because of the one choice that he made. Yes he did make a choice to use a drug that day, but he didn't choose to lose his life that day," she said.

Juillerat has turned her pain into purpose, working with an advocacy group named Justice Accountability and Victims Advocacy (JAVA), which aims to help other families who are dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one and are seeking justice.

The Fishers Police Department is urging you only to take medicine that is prescribed to you. For more information on the "One Pill can Kill" campaign, click here.