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Ohio State University warns of fake Adderall pills after two students died in one week

Fentanyl-laced pills add to spike in overdoses
Fentanyl-laced pills add to spike in overdoses 02:23

Ohio State University is warning of fake Adderall pills that may contain the synthetic opioid fentanyl after two students died this week, the school announced. A third student was hospitalized and later released.

"We are grieving and extend our deepest sympathies to the students' family and friends," Ohio State president Dr. Kristina M. Johnson said in a statement. "Out of respect for them during this extremely difficult time, we are not sharing further personal information." 

The university did not name the students' causes of death, but Johnson did point attention to an urgent safety message issued Thursday morning by the university's office of student life. In it, Columbus Public Health warned of counterfeit Adderall pills containing fentanyl, saying the pills are behind an increase in overdoses and hospitalizations. 

"It is critical for everyone's safety to be aware of the possibility of contaminated drugs in our community," Johnson said. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Adderall is a drug containing amphetamine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The drug has a high potential for abuse that could lead to drug dependance, and the misuse of it may cause sudden death and serious adverse cardiovascular events. 

Counterfeit pills are often sold on social media and are made to look like prescription pills, such as Adderall, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. DEA lab testing found that four out of ten counterfeit pills with fentanyl contained a potentially lethal dose. A lethal dose is "about two milligrams, equivalent in size to a few grains of salt," the DEA said. 

"Be aware of the possibility of unexpected contaminates or how drugs may unsafely interact with alcohol," Ohio State's senior vice president for student life Dr. Melissa S. Shivers wrote in the safety message. "Contaminated drugs can result in a severe and unexpected reaction, including death, from only one use."

The university noted that it strongly discourages drug misuse of any kind, but encouraged students who may choose to experiment with drugs to drink responsibly, consider picking up free fentanyl test strips or a Naxolone kit, and never buy or use prescription medication not received from a qualified pharmacist. 

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