Could mass closing of pharmacies make fentanyl crisis WORSE? Experts warn environment creating 'breeding ground' for counterfeit, laced pills

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Experts are informing much group could beryllium exposed to clone pills perchance laced pinch deadly substances because of nan wide closure of pharmacies.

Roei Ganzarski, who directs Washington-based Alitheon which useful successful nan wellness sector, said galore patients were now being forced online to capable their prescriptions.

This was creating a 'breeding ground' for counterfeit pills, he said, because it raised nan consequence of patients turning to cheaper, third-party websites that whitethorn waste pills laced pinch 'life-threatening substances'. These see fentanyl, a supplier already sidesplitting tens of thousands of Americans each twelvemonth by accidental overdoses.

Major supplier shop chains including Rite Aid and CVS are closing much than 1,500 locations crossed nan US, peculiarly successful low-income neighborhoods and agrarian areas, leaving millions of Americans successful 'pharmacy deserts'.

Rite Aid is readying to adjacent 150 of its 2,100 US locations aft nan drugstore concatenation revenge for bankruptcy earlier this period (pictured is simply a Rite Aid shop successful California up of closure)

Mr Ganzarski, who directs Washington-based wellness tech institution Alitheon, told Fox News: 'When you spell digital, you conscionable don't cognize who you're ordering from aliases what it is you're really getting — and yet you're putting it successful your body.'

Roei Ganzarski, who directs a institution moving to spot counterfeit medication, said galore patients were now being forced online to capable their prescriptions

'Patients mightiness think, "Oh look, I tin bargain it from this institution successful Canada aliases Taiwan and it's cheaper".

'They whitethorn not moreover cognize who it is, but hey, it says nan sanction of their medicine and it's overmuch cheaper.'

He added: 'Bad actors tin get their hands connected a surplus of aged pills that were expected to beryllium destroyed aliases thrown distant past alteration nan day and vessel them.

'[Patients could besides person pills where] location is virtually thing there. You're conscionable taking a pill that is simply a placebo, and past you don't understand why you're not getting better.'

He said purchasing from awesome pharmacies for illustration CVS and Walgreens aliases section pharmacies online was safe.

But location were concerns complete third-party pharmacies which are not based successful nan US, he said.

Officials are moving to region fraudulent websites, but caller ones tin beryllium easy group up to waste nan drugs.

Data from nan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed nan number of overdoses caused by clone pills much than doubled from Q3 successful 2019 to Q4 successful 2021 rising from 2 percent to 4.7 percent.

America's overdose deaths situation has been driven by fentanyl — down 8 successful 10 deaths — which illicit manufacturers operation into substances successful bid to springiness users a much aggravated high.

But this supplier tin beryllium fatal moreover successful mini amounts while galore users are unaware that their narcotics are laced pinch this substance.

There are now fears that much group could beryllium unwittingly exposed to nan supplier via counterfeit pills sold successful drugstore deserts, further raising nan overdose decease toll.

Rite Aid is readying to adjacent 150 of its 2,100 US locations aft nan drugstore concatenation revenge for bankruptcy earlier this month.

It had been incapable to settee hundreds of lawsuits accusing it of overprescribing opioids and has struggled to support up pinch competitors.

CVS is group to adjacent nan doors connected 900 of its stores by nan extremity of 2024, 10 percent of each its shops, arsenic portion of its online strategy. 

And Walgreens is besides owed to shutter 150 of its stores by summertime 2024, citing slashed net owed to plummeting request for Covid vaccines and tests. 

A slew of drugstore chains slashing their locations has near millions of group surviving successful areas wherever it's difficult to get medication, areas known arsenic drugstore deserts, according to JAMA.

'According to our estimates, astir 1 successful 4 neighborhoods are drugstore deserts crossed nan country,' Dima Qato, an subordinate professor astatine nan University of Southern California told nan Washington Post:.

'These closures are disproportionately affecting communities that request pharmacies most.'

America remains successful nan grips of an overdose situation pinch much than 10,000 group dying from supplier overdoses each month, figures show.

Latest information from nan Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an estimated 112,000 group died from overdoses successful nan twelvemonth to May 2023, up somewhat connected nan erstwhile month's estimate.

That was nan balanced of astir 10,000 deaths per month, which experts warned was for illustration a pitchy afloat of Americans crashing and burning almost each day.

The overdose situation is being driven by fentanyl, down astir 8 successful 10 overdose deaths, which is 100 times much powerful than morphine but tin beryllium fatal moreover successful very mini doses.

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