Zachary Didier took what looked like a prescription pain pill just after Christmas last year, according to his parents. It contained an illicit form of the powerful opioid fentanyl, which they say killed the 17-year-old Californian.
His death was one of a record 100,000 fatal overdoses in a year-long period through April that have demonstrated how the nation’s illegal drug supply is becoming more toxic and dangerous. A bootleg version of fentanyl being made mainly by Mexican drug cartels is spreading to more corners of the U.S., increasingly inside fake pills taken by people who in some cases believe they are consuming less-potent drugs.
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