The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issues a warning on fentanyl-laced counterfeit prescription drugs; a new FBI report shows a year-to-year increase in murders nationwide from 2019 to 2020; Pfizer will soon begin testing a novel combination therapy as a preventive measure against COVID-19 infection.
As reported by NPR, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a warning on the significant rise in fake prescription drugs tainted with potentially lethal doses of fentanyl being sold on the black market. Marking its first public safety alert in 6 years, the DEA said that more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than that seized in the last 2 years combined. Typically sold on the street by dealers or online, the pills are made to mimic opioid medications such as oxycodone, Percocet, or Adderall.
According to data from the FBI’s newest Uniform Crime Report, murders nationwide increased by nearly 30% in 2020, with the incidence of homicides involving guns rising to a new record high. Reported by CBS News, the 29.4% rise in homicides and manslaughter from 2019 to 2020 was indicated to be the largest year-to-year spike since the federal government began tracking violent crime in the 1960s. Notably, 77% of reported homicides in 2020 involved a gun, amounting to 43,559 gun-related deaths, compared with 39,538 reported in 2019.
Reported by CBS News, Pfizer announced on September 27 that it is testing an oral antiviral pill as a preventive measure for those in close contact with people, such as a family member, who have COVID-19. Combined with a low dose of the HIV drug ritonavir, the efficacy of the pill will be examined in a late-stage study of approximately 2660 people, with participants either receiving the combination therapy or placebo orally twice daily for 5 to 10 days. Pending efficacy, the pill could be prescribed to people who are at least 18 years old at the first sign of infection.