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Dangerous Deception: Fake Opioids Known as M30s

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Fentanyl is the most deadly illicit drug on the market today, but it’s not alone.  Fatal overdoses are on the rise because many powerful drugs are being laced with or used in combination with fentanyl.  One of the most recent illicit drug problems is fake opioids known as M30s. 

The DEA issued a warning about fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and meth.  The pills are widely available and often contain deadly amounts of fentanyl.  Last year law enforcement seized more than 9.5 million fake pills.  The number of DEA-seized fake pills has jumped 430 percent since 2019. 

What Do Fake Opioids Look Like? 

Fake Opioids

The most common fake pills resemble prescription opioids such as Percocet, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, or Xanax.  Some of the pills may look like stimulants such as Adderall.  The drug known as M30 looks like oxycodone and has the letter “M” on one side and the number “30” on the other side.  Hence, the name M30s.  

Where Are the Fake Opioids Sold?

Ruthless drug dealers, in an attempt to increase profits, lace drugs with fentanyl because it is cheaper and easier to obtain.  The market is expanding as people purchase the pills through social media and other e-commerce platforms.  Anyone with access to the internet can obtain the pills.  The fake opioids are also available through dealers on almost any street in America.  

How Are Fake Opioids Manufactured?

Surprisingly, individuals with ill intent can obtain a pill press and counterfeit pill mold for about $500 to $1,000.  The presses are available online and virtually untracked.  They can produce thousands of counterfeit pills per hour.

Possession of a pill press is not well regulated and generally only involves fines for violation of DEA registration requirements.  The person in possession of the press is not likely to serve jail time. As a result, domestically manufactured counterfeit pills continue to cause overdose deaths by the thousands every year.

Other Deadly Drugs Found in Fake Pills

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of dangerous illicit drugs.  Anyone purchasing street drugs should assume they contain fentanyl or other deadly substances.  The likelihood of suffering an overdose is not worth the risk.  

In addition to fentanyl, fake opioids may contain traces of the following substances:

  • Isotonitazene:  Known as ISO, this deadly drug is responsible for about 40 to 50 fatal overdoses per month in the U.S.  It is a derivative of Etonitazene, which is a legal analgesic.  ISO is 100 times more potent than morphine.  
  • Xylazine:  This drug is an animal tranquilizer that drug dealers combine with fentanyl or other opioids to enhance the effects.  It causes sedation and respiratory depression, increasing the risk of overdose.  Xylazine is present in about 64% of overdoses that also involve fentanyl.
  • U-47700: Also known as “U4,” “Pink,” or “Pinky.”  This is a highly potent synthetic opioid.  It is available as a light pink or white powder and is also pressed into pills that look like legal opioids. The drug poses the same health risks as heroin or other designer opioids.

The amount of these substances in fake opioids varies.  One pill can contain enough of the deadly substances to induce overdose or death. Health officials encourage illicit drug users to be cautious and carry extra doses of naloxone (Narcan) in case of an overdose.  This precaution is necessary because, in most cases of fake opioid overdoses, one dosage of naloxone was not enough.

Prevention and Treatment Will Save Lives

Fake opioids are difficult to detect, even for experts.  The people who manufacture these drugs have become skilled in the art of deception. And, they don’t care about your safety.  

To prevent unknowingly ingesting these deadly drugs, avoid pills from friends, street dealers, or websites that sell drugs without a prescription.

If you’ve been experimenting with fake opioids, please seek professional treatment right away.  The drugs are dangerous to your health and can be life-threatening.

At Design for Change Recovery, We Care About Your Life

Did the above information cause you to be concerned about your fake opioid use?  We hope so because we care about you and want you to enjoy a sober, productive life.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you overcome drug abuse and addiction.

When you undergo addiction treatment at Design for Change, you will be treated with respect and compassion throughout your time in our program.  We offer a comprehensive assortment of evidence-based therapies that can be customized to fit your needs.  Some of the therapies we offer include, but are not limited to:

  • 12-Step programs
  • Family therapy
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Biosound Therapy
  • Psychodrama Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Depending on the extent of your addiction, you may choose inpatient, intensive outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs.  Our therapies seek to help you heal physically, mentally, and spiritually to ensure long-term sobriety.  

Don’t put it off another day.  The longer you wait to seek treatment, the worse the addiction will become. You also put yourself at increased risk for overdose, especially if you’re using fake opioids without realizing it.  So, contact our Lancaster, CA facility today and let us help you take back control of your life.  


  • – Sharp Increase in Fake Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyl and Meth
  • – Acting U.S. Attorney Warns of Increasing Danger of Counterfeit Prescription Opioids Containing Fentanyl
  • – Illegal Pill Presses: An Overlooked Threat to American Patients
Dangerous Deception: Fake Opioids Known as M30s