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DEA warns of deadly fake pills amid two ASU student deaths

"It's not uncommon for DEA to encounter counterfeit pills," explains Erica Curry, DEA Spokesperson.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Two ASU students died this school year – the first, 20-year-old Ivan Aguirre, and the second, 19-year-old Michael Terra.

Terra's death was reported last weekend after he was found in his dorm room. Police are investigating it as a potential drug overdose.

RELATED: Friends remember ASU student found dead in dorm of suspected overdose

Aguirre was found dead in his dorm room in November 2019.  His death was considered suspicious until this week when the medical examiner ruled it as an accident, due to a mix of lethal drugs.

The medical examiner's report said witnesses saw Ivan take what appeared to be Xanax pills, but no Xanax was found in his system. The report says the lethal mix that killed him was a combination of fentanyl and etizolam.

RELATED: Lethal mixture of drugs caused ASU student's death, medical examiner report says

"It's not uncommon for DEA to encounter counterfeit pills," explained Erica Curry, DEA Spokesperson.

Curry said the DEA is not involved in Aguirre's case but said counterfeit pills are a trend they've been seeing: pharmaceuticals laced with cheaper, more potent drugs like fentanyl.

"They're equally deadly," Curry explained. "There's no quality control in the manufacture of these pills. So, you could take one pill and be fine and the next day you can take the same pill and it has just enough fentanyl to kill you."

Curry said it's not just Xanax. They've seen fake Percocet and even seized 1.4 million pills of fake Oxycodone last year. And users are never the wiser until after it might be too late.

"Your next pill might be the next pill you don't wake up from," Curry said.

She added there's really no way to know what's in a pill before you take it, so your best bet is to get the pills from a pharmacy after they've been prescribed by a doctor.

As for the latest ASU death, the cause of death isn’t out yet, but again, police are investigating it as an overdose.

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