A 19-year-old man has been charged after a months-long investigation alleges he had been selling counterfeit prescription drugs laced with the highly poisonous narcotic fentanyl.
The bust underscores new risks inherent in a marketplace created by skyrocketing prescriptions under the telehealth trend combined with recent heavy restrictions on supply and distribution caused by the settlement of a civil suit between U.S. governments and Big Pharma on the opioid crisis coming into play.
The announcement was made by the Village of Antioch Police Department on Facebook on April 5, stating that Robert Julian was arrested during a traffic stop on April 3 following a warrant being issued for his arrest.
Antioch is a small town of roughly 15,000 people located approximately 20 minutes away from Chicago. During the arrest, police state they also recovered a loaded 9mm pistol, 1.2 grams of methamphetamine, “several pieces of drug paraphernalia,” and 80 prescription pills that all tested positive for fentanyl contents.
Julian was charged with six felony counts and is being held on a $500,000 bond with his next court date being May 3, the post states.
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America’s fentanyl crisis is significant as entities linked to the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department have worked to traffic precursor chemicals to Mexican drug cartels, who then synthesize the highly addictive and highly toxic opioid for distribution through the porous Southern Border within the the United States.
The significance of finding counterfeit pharmaceuticals containing fentanyl is also marked in light of news emerging early in April that pharmacies are being denied supply of commonly-prescribed, yet strictly controlled substances, like Xanax and the ADHD drug Adderall, which is an amphetamine, after a landmark civil lawsuit settlement between Big Pharma, distributors, and virtually all levels of the U.S. government mandated supply restrictions that are both stringent and oblique.
Supply and distribution of drugs like Adderall have already been tense following a huge increase in their prescription amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown mandate-fueled boom in telehealth prescriptions.
Yet the changes to the human living condition caused by the government’s utilization of the pandemic situation were more of a crescendo of an already existing trend than its cause.
As far back as 2015, American adults had begun to outpace children as the leaders in taking stimulants and amphetamines prescribed for ADHD, Bloomberg stated at the time, relying on data from a top drug manufacturer.
The CEO of the company told investors during an earnings call at the time, that the adult market was “growing fast, almost twice as fast as the overall market.”
If consumers of the drugs are unable to find supply through legitimate pharmacies, they may begin to turn to sellers on the dark web or area drug dealers to fulfill their needs, where buying counterfeit or stolen products brings the risk to buyers of getting more than they bargained for.
In October of 2022, Wired warned in an article on the topic that, “The Adderall shortage may worsen the American overdose crisis. People could die,” as it recounted the tale of a work-from-home writer identifying as “Kitty” who couldn’t fill her prescription and began buying excess supply from her friend’s doses.
“When someone accustomed to taking stimulants suddenly stops, they can sometimes feel withdrawal symptoms, especially if they are taking a high dose,” the article stated, adding, “Abrupt cessation can still manifest unpleasant feelings like drowsiness and irritability that people will want to avoid. Even patients who aren’t worried about withdrawal will still grapple with losing access to drugs they see as helpful for their day-to-day lives.”
The article cited a faculty director for an advocacy group located at a University as stating, “If you have lots of people moving at the same time from the pharmaceutical market to the illicit market, lots of bad things can happen.”
Wired pointed out that this trend is analogous to how the opioid epidemic began after OxyContin was marketed as safe and effective in the late 90s. After Big Pharma got patients hooked on prescriptions and supply was pulled in the 2000s once news about how addictive the opioid was began to make headlines, users quickly “swapped in heroin or other illicit opiates, which were easy to buy and cheaper to boot.”
Antioch PD noted in its press release that Julian “was also suspected of selling fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that were believed to have been connected to an overdose death of an Antioch resident, last year.”
Chief Geoffrey Guttschow added, “The type of drugs that were taken off of our streets this week are the same type that has been responsible for the vast majority of overdoses our police department has been dealing with.”
Lives have already been lost in other locales due to pharmaceuticals being laced with fentanyl.
In May of 2022, Columbus, Ohio media outlet WHIO7 reported that three students of Ohio State University had overdosed, with two early-20s women passing away, after taking fentanyl-laced drugs.
The University did not state which drug the deceased took, but issued an “alert about fake Adderall pills, which appear to contain fentanyl” after the calamity.
January reporting by The Guardian on the Adderall shortage relied on studies to point out that the use of stimulants by non-ADHD patients is effectively for recreational purposes.
“Studies have found prescription stimulants have little to no effect on the cognitive performance of adults without ADHD. What they do give other people is an elevated mood – a high,” the outlet stated.
The Guardian also noted that “targeted ads” for telehealth providers targeting youth were running rampant.
That trend is also notable in light of recent news that Big Pharma had spread its billion dollar marketing budgets into “patient influencers” on social media platforms, such as the CCP’s TikTok, where patients of certain illnesses, such as diabetes, use their personal experiences to attract a large following of people with the same disorders, who are then marketed to by brands through the influencers they work with.
TikTok is especially egregious, not just for serving as a distributor of messaging to its primarily very young audience, but for serving as a bridge between users and the illicit drug market.
In March, a report by the corporate accountability group Eko using a series of fake accounts with their age listed at 13-years-old to probe TikTok’s algorithm found the app pushing to their bots both suicide content and accounts advertising Telegram channels that offered all manner of illicit and prescription narcotics available with free international shipping.