Nearly all counterfeit OxyContin pills contain fentanyl, according to new analysis

Almost all fake oxycodone pills Rhode Island police seized in 2022 contained the highly potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, according to a new study. For the analysis, a team of researchers analyzed data from law enforcement drug seizures in Rhode Island from 2017 to 2022.

Researchers found that 99.3% of counterfeit oxycodone in 2022 contained fentanyl. That’s a sharp increase from around 10% between 2017 and 2020.

“Any pill not from a pharmacy may contain fentanyl,” Study author Dr. Rachel Wightman said in a Brown University press release.

In addition to fentanyl, researchers also say that the horse tranquilizer xylazine was in almost all of the 2022 counterfeit OxyContin seizures.

“Part of our goal with this report is to encourage other states as well as the federal government to release this type of data and information to the public,” Wightman said.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention sent out an alert in 2023 after it found that the number of deadly overdoses involving counterfeit pills doubled from 2019 to 2021.