Local addiction specialists are applauding the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) public safety alert about the growing number of pain medications bought on the black market that are laced with fentanyl. Jeremiah Gardner with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has this message for consumers:

“Beware, I guess that’s the main message, if you’re buying anything that’s not prescribed and FDA-approved and gone through the vetting process that medications in the U-S go through, you’re taking a big risk.”

Gardner says the risk of taking black market drugs is higher than it’s ever been. And he says people using substances used to wonder whether fentanyl might be in the drugs they were taking, now “they can pretty much count on it.”