McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim talks with sheriff’s deputies on March 7, 2019. | Photo: Alex Vucha.

Authorities are warning the public after a “significant number” of overdose deaths in McHenry County last week following reports of counterfeit prescription medication laced with fentanyl.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force has seen an increase in counterfeit prescription medications containing fentanyl, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office issued a community safety advisory and said they wanted to make the community aware of the potentially lethal pills.

Several overdoses and deaths are suspected to be attributed to the counterfeit prescription medications.

The McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition said that the number of deaths was “significant” but did not give an exact number. They occurred between April 18 and April 25.

Sheriff’s officials said that fentanyl and numerous other substances have been discovered in counterfeit Percocet (oxycodone hydrochloride) pills which are stamped with “M 30.”

These counterfeit pills are known as “Perc 30s” or “Blue M30” and look identical to factory manufactured Percocet pills.

The sheriff’s office is urging the community to exercise caution if they encounter suspected counterfeit pills due to the potential of a lethal overdose from handling them.

Those who discover possible counterfeit pills are asked to notify local law enforcement immediately.

“The Sheriff’s Office recommends that people do not purchase or ingest any prescription medication which is not prescribed to them, or prescription medication in which they cannot verify where its origin is from.”

Authorities are also recommending that community members inform their family and friends about the effects of the counterfeit pills.

Anyone with information regarding criminal activities is asked to contact either the McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 800-762-7867, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 815-338-2144, or the tip line email address TipLine@mchenrycountyil.gov.

Callers to the McHenry County Crime Stoppers may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 if they provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of an offender.

Those seeking information on treatment options for a substance use disorder can find out more by visiting the McHenry County Substance Abuse Collation’s website.