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Counterfeit pills suspected of causing several deaths in recent days

SAN DIEGO -- A counterfeit drug being sold on the streets is believed to have been the cause of several deaths in San Diego County in recent days, authorities announced Thursday.

Since Wednesday afternoon, detectives responded to four fatal overdoses that occurred in Lakeside, Santee, Valley Center and Poway, San Diego County Undershiff Mike Barnett said during a news conference. Preliminary investigation shows the deaths are likely linked to counterfeit oxycodone pills known as M30s or "blues." Illicit M30 pills are known to contain fentanyl and/or carfentanyl, which can be fatal.

The small, round blue pills or tablets are marked with an M inside a square on one side and a 30 over a line on the other. The pills are being sold or traded "with the promise of a painkiller high," according to a press release from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The Sheriff's Department is also working to determine how many additional calls for service medics may have responded to in the last 24 hours associated with the pills.

Officials are reminding the public any pill that is purchased without a prescription should be considered unsafe for consumption.

Anyone with more information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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