Counterfeit M30: Spotting Fake Oxycodone Containing Fentanyl

Edmund Murphy
Dr. Kimberly Langdon
Written by Edmund Murphy on 28 October 2022
Medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon on 07 June 2024

Fentanyl has been flooding the illicit drug market for over a decade now, contributing to the drastic rise in the number of fatal overdoses. As well as being laced in heroin and cocaine, fentanyl is also being pressed into many counterfeit pills, with M30 Oxycodone pills (Oxycontin®) being some of the most prevalent fake pills on the street.

counterfeit oxycodone, fake m30 pills, DEA, fentanyl m30 pills, blue pills on black background

What is M30 oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a form of opioid painkiller prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain in conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and post-surgery pain. ‘M30’ is a form of oxycodone pill that contains 30mg of oxycodone.

What does it look like?

The pills are often blue with a large boxed ‘M’ on one side and a central line with ‘30’ on the top half.

What is fake M30 oxycodone?

In recent years, the emergence of fake m30 oxycodone pills being sold illegally at street level has caused great concern to The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). While counterfeit drugs are always a reason to ring alarm bells for the DEA, fake M30 pills are of particular concern. Many of these drugs are sold through online portals and apps disguised to look like legal businesses. 

Fake M30 oxycodone is reportedly being sold with lethal amounts of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is responsible for over 70% of opioid deaths annually. Fentanyl is incredibly potent and overdose can set in rapidly, with respiratory depression and unconsciousness often leading to death. 

The fake M30 pills are being designed to look identical to the original, making it hard for addicts and buyers to tell the difference. Fentanyl has become so prevalent in America that in 2021, the DEA seized enough of the substance to give every person in America a lethal dose. 

Buying prescription medication such as M30 oxycodone illegally has become even more dangerous than it was, and many unsuspecting drug users have fallen victim to fatal overdoses due to counterfeit pills. 

What does fake M30 oxycodone look like?

Counterfeit M30 pills containing fentanyl are designed to look almost indistinguishable from the original oxycodone pill. The same large “M” is present on one side with a single line and “30” on the other. The color is also a similar light blue with speckles. The only real discernable difference is the imprints on the pills, with fake M30 pills often having wider lines and numbers than real oxycodone pills. However, this is not always the case as some seized pills have been found to have identical markings. 

fake m30 blue pill containing fentanyl

As they are almost indistinguishable from the original, fake M30 pills are often bought on the assumption they are legitimate. 

The only way to make sure that M30 pills are real when purchased illegally is for them to go through chemical testing first to ensure that they do not contain fentanyl or any other hazardous substances. For this reason, many government bodies such as the CDC and other organizations are promoting and campaigning for easy access to fentanyl strips; simple to use drug testing kits that quickly and accurately test for fentanyl in illicit substances.

Fake M30 facts

  • According to DEA lab testing: 4 out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
  • DEA seized more than 20.4 million fake pills in 2021 and 15,000 pounds of fentanyl.
  • Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms.
  • On August 19th, 2022, a woman was charged with possession with intent to distribute of more than 36 kilos of fake M30 pills containing fentanyl. Possession with intent to supply of 400g or more of fentanyl carries a minimum 10-year sentence and a maximum of life.

How are fake M30 pills made?

Most illegal M30 oxycodone drug manufacturers will buy fentanyl in bulk from China and parts of Central and Southern America. The fentanyl will be mixed with other chemicals and pressed using an illegal pill press containing moldings that replicate the original indents of oxycodone M30. 

These illegal pill press moldings are rarely exactly the same as the legitimate ones, with imperfections often being a giveaway that a pill is fake.

What to do if you have taken fentanyl

If you believe you or someone you are with has taken fentanyl then contact the emergency services immediately. If you are with someone who is overdosing on fentanyl then try to find a naloxone kit (Narcan or Prenoxad are available in most pharmacies) and administer while on the phone to the emergency services who can guide you through administering it.

If you have purchased M30 oxycodone or any other medication, such as Xanax, illegally via street dealers then there is a high likelihood that the drug will contain fentanyl. 

There were over 105,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States between 2021 and 2022, of which over 70% were related to fentanyl. Fentanyl’s low cost and ready availability, as well as its intense high and addictive nature, have made it the drug of choice for dealers, putting thousands of lives at risk.

Fentanyl has been found in all manner of illicit substances, from counterfeit pills to cocaine and meth, and anyone who buys illegal drugs may be at risk. Fentanyl strips and other drug testing kits are the best way to ensure that substances do not contain the drug.

Related: How to spot fake Xanax

Resources:

  1. CDC. (2019). Products - Vital Statistics Rapid Release - Provisional Drug Overdose Data. CDC.

Activity History - Last updated: 07 June 2024, Published date:


Reviewer

Kimberly Langdon M.D. has been contributing to medical fields including mental health and addiction since she retired from medicine; with over 19 years of practicing clinical experience.

Activity History - Medically Reviewed on 26 October 2022 and last checked on 07 June 2024

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kimberly Langdon

M.D.

Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Reviewer

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