There is a new crisis increasing the dangers of prescription drug use in the United States: fake Percocet. These counterfeit Percocet can be laced with a potentially deadly dose of other drugs. Perhaps most alarmingly, most people who are taking the drugs do not know how to tell if a pill is fake.
For veterans who take Percocet (by prescription or otherwise), this could lead to serious health consequences and even to a fatal overdose. Learn more below on how to spot fake pain pills and how to keep yourself safe from the deadly consequences of substance abuse.
Fake Percocet vs. Real Percocet
Prescription pills like Percocet are used to help manage moderate-to-severe pain. Veterans often take Percocet for service injuries or other underlying conditions. However, these prescription pills, even when used correctly, can pose a risk to veterans.
Real Percocet is made of oxycodone and acetaminophen. The intention of prescription painkillers is to help patients function throughout the day without debilitating pain. But these substances are known to cause addiction and for veterans, whose risk of developing a substance use disorder is much greater than the general population.
Prescription pills like Percocet can easily be misused because your body begins to depend on them. In fact, one of the most glaring signs of an addiction to drugs or alcohol is that you feel withdrawal symptoms whenever you are not using the substance. Another sign of addiction is going to multiple doctors to receive prescriptions because you take the pills other than as prescribed.
Oftentimes, veterans lose their ability to get Percocet and other prescription drugs through legal channels. Therefore, they will turn to other means just to get the drug. This is where the real danger of fake Percocet comes to the surface.
Fake Percocet is cheap to make and distribute, which contributes to the problem of them being so readily available on the drug market. Counterfeit Percocet is often laced with other addictive and deadly drugs, such as fentanyl or heroin. However, fake “Percs” usually look just like real Percocet on the drug market. But these fake pills do more than just cause addiction—they lead to fatal overdoses.
Fake Percocet comes from a variety of sources. One recent example from 2020 shows that a pharmacist brought Mexican Percocet from across the border into the United States. These prescription pills, branded with its now-famous name of M30, were laced with fentanyl. And if you don’t know what’s in a pill or how high the dosage is, you can easily overdose by accident.
This deadly issue is not going away, either. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration reports that in one state, the amount of fake Percocet they found in just the first half of 2020 was almost four times greater than the entirety of fake oxycodone recovered in 2019.
The DEA has released warning statements this past year to alert people to the dangers that they could be facing when purchasing what they think are real Percocet pills. In reality, you can never be sure that the substance you are taking or misusing won’t lead to worsening mental health concerns, physical health consequences, and potentially death.
How to Spot Fake Percocet
Knowing the difference between fake and real Percocet is not as easy as you might think. The M30 that is pressed into the pill looks similar to how it would for a prescribed dose from the pharmacy.
If you examine these pills closely, you might see that the pressed 30s are uneven or that the pill itself isn’t as smooth as it normally would be if you picked it up from the pharmacy. Additionally, the color of real Percocet is usually lighter than the fake pills.
That being said, it is still incredibly challenging to spot the difference between real and fake pain pills, especially if you are in a state of addiction that could alter your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Truthfully, the only way that you can protect yourself from the dangers of fake Percocet is to receive treatment for prescription drug addiction.
Protect Yourself with Addiction Treatment
Even if you did know how to tell if a pill is fake, it doesn’t change the root of the problem. Ultimately, drug addiction is a serious condition that affects countless veterans around the country. One guaranteed way that you can protect yourself from fake Percocet is to treat your addiction and any co-occurring mental health concerns so that you do not feel the need to turn to these dangerous substances just to get through your day.
As mentioned earlier, withdrawal symptoms from a dependency to prescription pills can be severe and even life-threatening. This is why it is important to start with drug and alcohol detox—especially if you have other mental or physical health concerns. In detox, medical professionals will help you to be as safe and as comfortable as possible as you take the first steps toward recovery. Once you have safely completed detox, you will then be ready to tackle the work that goes into sobriety and emotional wellness.
Treatment looks different depending on your specific needs and recovery goals. However, some common treatment options for veterans who struggle with addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders include:
- 12-step addiction treatment
- Individual therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Group therapy
- Spiritual healing
- Nutritional assessment
- Job-ready preparation
- And many more
If you are a veteran who has had service injuries, mental health concerns such as PTSD and/or depression, or who has simply not been able to get the right kind of treatment, your first goal should be to find a veteran-friendly rehab center who will provide these services. This is especially important if you are in danger of using fake Percocet. In addiction treatment, you will learn that turning to drugs and alcohol is not your only option.
Addiction Treatment for Veterans
Heroes’ Mile is here to serve veterans who are struggling with addiction, mental health concerns, or who know that they might be in danger with fake Percocets and other prescription drugs. Our mission is to keep you safe during your time here with us as well as to provide you with the skills you need to keep yourself safe and healthy out there in the real world.