DA: Illegal drugs made to look legitimate are being sold in Suffolk

Suffolk County’s top law enforcement official on Sunday afternoon issued an “urgent safety announcement” warning residents that illicit substances camouflaged to look like legitimate prescription pills have appeared in the county and have led to arrests.

At an afternoon press conference, District Attorney Timothy Sini, along with Steven Chassman, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, said illicit substances such as methamphetamine is being pressed into pills and marketed as the prescription pill Adderall.

“This is an extremely alarming trend that can put users’ lives at risk,” Mr. 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.”

While law enforcement in the county has seen fentanyl manufactured to look like the prescription drug Oxycodone, “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.”

Mr. Sini said that “any time you illegally purchase purported prescription pills, you are putting your life at risk.”

To the sellers of these drugs, he added, “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.”

A press release from the district attorney’s office said that on Friday, Suffolk police arrested Eli Irby, 21, and Thairhan Ozturk, 21, both of Lindenhurst, for possession of pills that resembled Adderall but were in fact methamphetamine. They were charged with a number of felony counts.

Earlier this month, Suffolk police arrested Phillip Hollman, 42, of Mastic for alleged sale of fentanyl “pressed as pills and marketed as Oxycodone.” He is charged with a long list of drug-related felonies, but also firearms charges.

Last month, former New York City police officer Joseph Recca, 28, of West Islip, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and related charges for selling fentanyl marketed as Oxycodone and causing a fatal overdose of a victim in 2019.

The press release said that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has attributed the fake Adderall pills to Mexican drug cartels “who are manufacturing the pills in an attempt to get young people addicted to Methamphetamine.

Mr. Sini asked that parents share his warning with their children and family members, as Adderall is a prescription medicine designed to treat attention deficit disorder in younger individuals.

Mr. Sini and Mr. Chassman said that anyone struggling with substance use disorders can 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.