February 17, 2016


Over the past two weeks, Narcotics Investigators with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office have been investigating the cause of six recent hospital admissions in Florence and Williamsburg Counties. According to Investigators, the suspected cause of the poisonings appears to be counterfeit pills sold on the street as the prescription drug Roxicodone. Williamsburg County Sheriff’s Office obtained one of the suspected tablets which it submitted to the drug lab at Florence County Sheriff’s Office for analysis. FCSO’s chemist confirmed that the tablet was NOT Roxicodone, and in fact contained no amount of oxycodone, the active chemical used in the pharmaceutical version of the drug. Instead, the analysis indicated that the pill contained a synthetic based cannabinoid, the active chemical in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoid has recently become more prevalent, especially since the onset of the popular vaping devices. While a formal, qualitative analysis of the counterfeit tablet is pending, preliminary findings suggest that this synthetic THC may be as much as 100 times more potent than that found in regular marijuana. It is a known medical fact that THC interferes with receptors in the brain, and at these enhanced levels of potency, presents significant and inevitable health risks like the hospitalizations we have seen recently.

FCSO is working closely with Lake City Police Department, Williamsburg County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and other entities to track down the source of these counterfeit substances. Recently, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency made synthetic cannabinoid a Schedule One Controlled Substance. Schedule One substances have no recognized medical value and are illegal to possess under both State and federal law.

It is important to note that this warning does not apply to prescription Roxicodone purchased from a reputable pharmacy. In addition, the counterfeit Roxicodone tablets at issue here are strikingly similar in appearance to the pharmaceutical tablets. Primarily, the counterfeit tables appear to have a lighter color than the pharmaceutical tablets as shown on the comparisons attached.

Anyone with information on the source of these counterfeit Roxicodone tablets is urged to contact FCSO Narcotics Investigators at (843) 665-2121, ext. 330 or Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at 1-888-CRIME-SC.





Major Michael M. Nunn
General Counsel/P.I.O.