top of page

DEA Intensifies Efforts to Halt Online Sales of Pill Presses Amid Fentanyl Crisis

Updated: Mar 31

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has launched a crackdown on the online sale of pill presses, a move aimed at stemming the tide of counterfeit medication production, particularly those containing the lethal opioid, fentanyl. On Monday, the agency sent out notifications to internet merchants involved in the sale of these devices, emphasizing the legal obligation to report transactions involving pill presses to the DEA.

Pill presses have played a pivotal role in the opioid crisis, allowing illicit drug manufacturers to create counterfeit pills that mimic legitimate pharmaceuticals but contain fentanyl. These fake medications are often sold to unsuspecting individuals, contributing to a significant rise in overdose deaths. The DEA highlighted that these presses can be purchased online for as low as $40, a factor that has exacerbated the overdose epidemic. According to the agency, there were 110,757 overdose deaths in 2022, many of which were attributed to fentanyl.

The DEA's statement underscored the danger posed by these counterfeit pills, which are frequently made to resemble common prescription drugs such as oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall. However, they contain deadly substances, primarily fentanyl, posing a significant risk to individuals unaware of their true composition. The sale of these counterfeit pills, often facilitated through social media and within communities, has become a major public health concern.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, online retailers selling pill presses are categorized as "regulated persons" and are, therefore, subject to stringent record-keeping and reporting requirements. These obligations include documenting the details of buyers and sellers and notifying the DEA of any transactions related to pill presses. This regulatory framework aims to curb the availability of such tools to individuals and organizations involved in drug trafficking.

The DEA has identified the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco Cartel as the primary entities behind the production of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills. Despite efforts to halt the production and sale of fentanyl by these cartels, fentanyl-related overdoses and seizures have shown no signs of abating. In 2023, law enforcement seized over 79 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, marking a 33% increase from the previous year. Laboratory analysis revealed that 70% of these seized pills contained fentanyl, highlighting the pervasive nature of this issue.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram emphasized the critical role e-commerce platforms play in combating the fentanyl crisis. By allowing the sale of pill presses, these platforms inadvertently facilitate the production of dangerous counterfeit medications. The DEA has called on these companies to take proactive measures to prevent such sales and has warned of potential consequences for non-compliance.

In response to the ongoing crisis, the DEA initiated the Industry Liaison Project in 2019, engaging with major online retailers to address the issue of pill press sales on their platforms. Several companies, including Amazon and Etsy, have taken steps to ban the sale of pill presses. However, investigations reveal that these devices are still available on these platforms, indicating the need for continued vigilance and enforcement efforts to protect public health and safety.


News (2).png
News (4).png
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
bottom of page