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Attorney General Josh Stein Commends Senate for Passing Stop Counterfeit Pill Act

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today applauded the North Carolina Senate for passing the Stop Counterfeit Pill Act (S206), which updates North Carolina law to address the growing threat of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, methamphetamine, or other dangerous drugs.

“This is another tool in the tool chest to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemic in our state,” said Sen. Tom McInnis, the bill’s primary sponsor. “This bill will modernize the existing law to make sure that those illegal drug dealers receive a penalty that has the full weight of the laws of our state. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this important piece of legislation.”

“People procure pill presses for one reason: to poison North Carolinians with illicit drugs,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We are seeing too many of our neighbors die from counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl and other opioids. This bill will provide law enforcement with the tools it needs to stop dealers and traffickers from selling these dangerous drugs. I am proud to continue to work alongside Sen. Tom McInnis to fight back against the scourge of fentanyl, and I commend his unwavering commitment.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert in late 2021,  warning of an alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. The alert identified a significant surge in counterfeit pills that criminal drug networks mass produce in labs and deceptively market as legitimate prescription pills. Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including young people. The DEA has seized these counterfeit pills in every state – including North Carolina – in unprecedented quantities.

The Stop Counterfeit Pills Act, which the North Carolina Department of Justice helped draft, strengthens existing North Carolina law by making it a felony to possess equipment knowing or intending that it will be used to manufacture a controlled substance. The bill borrows language from well-established federal law to cover a broader array of equipment that may be used to make counterfeit controlled substances.

Attorney General Stein has been leading efforts to address the opioid crisis and the deadly rise in fentanyl. He is seeking funding from the legislature to create a Fentanyl Control Unit within the Department of Justice to help local district attorneys handle large-scale fentanyl trafficking, wiretap, and overdose cases. He and the Department of Justice also worked with Rep. Hugh Blackwell and other representatives in the House to draft the Novel Opioid Control Act (HB258), which passed the House and will update state law to protect North Carolinians for nitazines, a class of opioids 40 times more powerful than fentanyl.

Read a summary of the Stop Counterfeit Pill Act here.

Read the bill here.


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