PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A major alert for parents: the DEA says it's seeing more and more middle schoolers buying drugs.
Pittsburgh police are investigating the death of a 13-year-old eighth grader at Carmalt Elementary in Brookline who the medical examiner said had several drugs in his system, including fentanyl and para-fluorofentanyl, when he died. It's unclear how the teen got the drugs.
The Allegheny County medical examiner says the 13-year-old student was found unresponsive at his Brookline home on Capital Avenue back in February. He died at UPMC Mercy and now Pittsburgh police are investigating after the medical examiner released new information about the drugs that were in the boy's system when he died.
Steve Denhup is an intelligence supervisor with the DEA Western PA and says what investigators are seeing is a rise in young people getting counterfeit pills that contain potent drugs like fentanyl, para-fluorofentanyl and methamphetamines.
"We are finding a lot of those substances are being brought into the U.S. or made locally in the form of counterfeit oxycodone 30 milligram tablets," said Denhup.
Denhup says they're seeing a lot of these counterfeit drugs produced in western Pennsylvania with a large quantity also coming from Mexico. He says often, middle schoolers are finding the pills being sold on social media, particularly on apps like Snapchat.
"Sharing social media and sharing emojis amongst students and will put in touch with a dealer or other student who has access to those," said Denhup. "It's very easy to hide a pill on your person or in a prescription bottle so we are seeing counterfeit drugs as a preferred method of acquiring and concealing drugs."
Denhup wants to stress that just one tablet can be lethal.
"If you have a higher tolerance, not as much, but if you're 13 and get your hand on a pill, average is 2.2 milligrams now, 2 milligrams will kill you," said Denhup.
Denhup says the DEA is doing what it can to get counterfeit pills and all drugs off the streets. He says they're also doing what they can to educate our youth.
Pittsburgh police say no one has yet to be charged in that 13-year-old Brookline boy's death.
With more than 11 years of experience, Pittsburgh native Amy Wadas is an Emmy-nominated reporter and fill-in anchor at KDKA. Amy joined KDKA in July 2014 and is thrilled to be home!
First published on May 24, 2022 / 7:42 PM
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