Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini was joined by Steven Chassman, Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (“LICADD”) to issue an urgent public safety announcement warning residents of a dangerous trend in the sale of illicit substances pressed to look like prescription pills, including methamphetamine being pressed into pills and marketed as Adderall.
“This is an extremely alarming trend that can put users’ lives at risk,” District Attorney Sini said. “Any time a substance is branded for illicit sale as something other than what it is, it poses severe safety risks. The unintended ingestion of meth or fentanyl to an unsuspecting user can easily be fatal, which is why we’re sounding the alarm and letting residents know that these pills are already in circulation in our area.”
Law enforcement in Suffolk County has observed the distribution of fentanyl that has been pressed and marketed as subscription pills, such as Oxycodone, over the past several years; however, the existence of methamphetamine pressed as pills is an emerging trend that law enforcement believes may become more prevalent based on intelligence gathered in recent narcotics investigations.
“Our message here today is twofold: We want substance users to be aware that these substances are being sold in our area, and that any time you illegally purchase purported prescription pills, you are putting your life at risk,” District Attorney Sini said. “And secondly, to anyone peddling this poison in Suffolk County: We will come for you, we will arrest you, and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, including the potential for Homicide charges against anyone selling drugs who causes a fatal overdose.”
On Friday, Suffolk County Police First Precinct officers arrested Eli Irby, 21, of Lindenhurst, and Thairhan Ozturk, 21, of Lindenhurst, following a car stop in Lindenhurst during which law enforcement recovered various controlled substances from the vehicle, including pills resembling Adderall. A field test determined that the pills were in fact methamphetamine. Irby and Ozturk are each charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A felony; three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, a class D felony.
On March 17, pursuant to an investigation by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Suffolk County Police Department’s Narcotics Section, police arrested Phillip Hollman, 42, of Mastic, for the alleged sale of fentanyl pressed as pills and marketed as Oxycodone. Hollman is charged with six counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony; Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a class D felony; Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a class A misdemeanor.
District Attorney Sini also announced last month the guilty plea of a former NYPD officer, Joseph Recca, 28, of West Islip, to Manslaughter in the Second Degree and other charges for selling fentanyl pills marketed as Oxycodone and causing the fatal overdose of a victim in 2019.
“We have seen other parts of the country ravaged by the use of methamphetamines, whereas Suffolk County has largely been spared that tragedy,” District Attorney Sini said. “However, with these pills seized Friday, this is something law enforcement is very concerned about and keeping a close eye on.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Division announced this week that methamphetamine pressed as Adderall pills have been seized recently in locations across New Hampshire. The DEA attributed the source of these pills to Mexican drug cartels, who are manufacturing the pills in an attempt to get young people addicted to methamphetamine.
“Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit disorders and is primarily prescribed to younger individuals,” District Attorney Sini said. “Similarly, people who purchase black market Adderall for recreational use tend to be younger, so our warning here today is not just for the individuals using these substances, but also for parents to please share this warning with your teens and older children.”
“LICADD is proud to partner with Suffolk County to provide a 24-hour hotline, so if you or someone you know someone who is struggling, please call today and ask for help,” Mr. Chassman said. “We commend District Attorney Sini for getting this public health message out there to keep individuals and families safe.”
District Attorney Sini and Mr. Chassman encourage anyone struggling with substance use disorders to call LICADD’s 24-hour hotline at 631-979-1700 or the Family Service League’s Diagnostic, Assessment, and Stabilization Hub (“DASH”) at 631-952-3333.