Worcester County DA's Office Warns About Counterfeit Pills Following Arrest

Evidence found by different departments involved in the drug investigationPhoto: Curtsey of Lindsay Corcoran (Worcester County District Attorney's Office)

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – A recent drug arrest is raising awareness over new overdose concerns.

Blackstone police recently arrested Ryan F. Alvarez of Woonsocket, Rhode Island for allegedly trying to sell 500 fentanyl pills to an undercover officer. Alvarez was charged with trafficking more than ten grams of fentanyl.

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The arrest comes as investigators first started working in the Blackstone/Woonsocket area to address counterfeit pills in September. Since then, they have collected roughly 750 counterfeit Oxycodone tablets containing fentanyl as well as more than 100 grams of cocaine.

Now, Worcester County District Attorney, Joseph Early Jr. is warning the public about the overdose risk after seeing an increase of overdose deaths from fake prescriptions.

“This recent arrest highlights one of the changes we’re seeing in the drug market in Worcester County and nationally,” Early said. “We want to warn people that the pills they buy on the street are often cut with fentanyl and can be just as likely, if not more, to result in a deadly overdose than heroin.”

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A record 93,000 overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2020. Experts say fentanyl has become a driving force behind the increase in recent years.

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