Ottawa police, public health issue warning about fake prescription meds

Police and public health officials in Ottawa are urging residents to only take prescription pills from reputable sources after a number of near-fatal overdoses were believed to be caused by counterfeit drugs.

Fake Percocet pills previously found to contain fentanyl

Counterfeit pills resembling Oxycontin and Percocet have been found in the city and are suspected to have been 'involved in recent life-threatening overdoses,' according to a warning issued late Monday afternoon by Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Police Service. (Toby Talbot/Associated Press)

Police and public health officials in Ottawa are urging residents to only take prescription pills from reputable sources after a number of near-fatal overdoses were believed to be caused by counterfeit drugs.

Counterfeit pills resembling Oxycontin and Percocet have been found in the city and are suspected to have been "involved in recent life-threatening overdoses," according to a warning issued late Monday afternoon by Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Police Service.

Laboratory testing is being carried out to confirm the precise contents of those fake drugs. Fentanyl-laced pills designed to resemble prescription drugs have previously been found in Ottawa, the agencies said. 

"Obtaining drugs from a non-medical source such as a friend, ordering online, or a drug dealer is very risky and potentially life-threatening, as there is no way to know what is actually in them or how toxic they may be," the warning said.

"Drugs should only be purchased from a local pharmacy or a medical professional."

Fentanyl-related overdoses in the capital region spiked sharply in 2016, with local paramedics doubling their use of naloxone — an injectable antidote that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The city even warned Ottawa partygoers to who use recreational drugs to carry a naloxone kit on New Year's Eve, just in case.