Counterfeit Drugs

South Dakota Resource Hotline 1-800-920-4343

Counterfeit drugs are widely available, increasingly deadly and becoming more common in South Dakota. Fake pills have caused the number of overdoses and deaths to skyrocket, especially among young people 15-24.

Fake pills can be easy to get on the street. Buying drugs online, through social media, and payment apps has become a popular new way for drug dealers to target kids.

Many overdoses are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) which is distributed through illegal drug markets. It is added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous.

IMF can come in liquid or powder form. Powdered fentanyl looks like many other drugs. It is often mixed with drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. This dangerous combination is then made into pills that look like other prescription opioids. In liquid form, IMF can be found in nasal sprays, eye drops, and dropped onto paper or small candies.

Counterfeit drugs may contain deadly levels of fentanyl, and you aren’t able to see it, taste it, or smell it.

Physical and Mental Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S. Fentanyl use can cause:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in pupil size
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death

More information about fake pills can be found on the DEA’s One Pill Can Kill website.

Dangerous Trends: Rainbow Fentanyl

Drug trafficking—the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of illegal drugs—is big business for criminals. The illegal drug industry is constantly evolving. These efforts threaten legitimate economic and social development worldwide. The distribution of illegal drugs has had devastating consequences in South Dakota communities.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently identified an alarming trend. Counterfeit fentanyl is being distributed in colorful tablets across the country. In August 2022, the DEA seized brightly-colored fentanyl in 18 states. This “rainbow fentanyl” looks like candy. It appears to be a new way for drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl to children and young people.

Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country. The CDC reported over 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021. More than half of those deaths were related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Drug poisonings are the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.

Drugs Decoded.

Young people talk about drugs differently today. Those who grew up surrounded by social media often use a language all their own containing slang terms and emoji symbols. Fake prescription pills—commonly laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine—are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms. Anyone with a smartphone can get these dangerous drugs.

In South Dakota, 93% of overdose deaths are unintentional. Drugs take over 250 lives every day in the United States. The more you know about different types of drugs, the easier it will be to protect yourself and your loved ones.

The information provided here is intended to help educate parents and caregivers about drug types, names, and some common symbols associated with illegal drugs.

Please Note: the emojis shown here can be code for drugs but may vary and change with language trends. Using emojis does not automatically signal illegal activity. If you notice changes in behavior, appearance, or are worried about someone—please talk about it.

Learn more about the signs of misuse and get tips on how to start conversations about drugs with your kids in the prevention section of this website.


Prescribed to treat pain


Brand Name: Actiq®, Sublimaze®
Street Names: Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, Tango and Cash, TNT


Brand Name: OxyContin®
Street Names: 30s, As, Berries, Blues, Blueberries, Hillbilly Heroin, Ms, O.C., Oxy, Oxycet, Oxycotton, Ozone, Roxy

Brand Name: Percocet®
Street Names: Ercs, Greenies, Kickers, M-30s, Percs, Rims, Tires, Wheels, 512s


Street Names: Captain Cody, Cody, Little C, Schoolboy


Brand Name: Duramorph®, MS Contin®
Street Names: God’s Drug, M, Miss Emma, Monkey, Morpho, White Stuff


Prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia


Brand Name: Ativan®
Street Names: Bars, Benzos, Blues, Candy, Chill Pills, Downers, Nerve Pills, Planks, Tranks, Zannies


Brand Name: Valium®
Street Names: Eggs, Jellies, Moggies, Vallies


Brand Name: Xanax®
Street Names: Bars, Footballs, French Fries, Ladders, School Bus, Xan, Xannies, Z-Bars

Prescribed Stimulants

Prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and for short-term treatment of obesity


Brand Name: Adderall®, Dexedrine®
Street Names: Kibbles and Bits, R-Ball, The Smart Drug, Vitamin R


Brand Name: Paxil®, Prozac®, Zoloft®
Street Names: Bottled Smiles, Happy Pill, Miracle Drug, Wonder Drug


Brand Name: Ritalin®
Street Names: Kibbles and Bits, R-Ball, The Smart Drug, Vitamin R

Illicit Stimulants

Illegally manufactured, unregulated, highly addictive dangerous drugs


Street Names: Chalk, Christina, Cookies, Crank, Cream, Crystal, Crystal Meth, Ice, Meth, No Doze, No Stop, Pookie, Rocket Fuel, Scooby Snacks, Speed, Trash, Tweek, Wash, White Cross


Street Names: Aunt Nora, Batman, Big C, Big Rush, Blow, Candy, Charlie, Coca, Coke, Colombia, Crack, Pearl, Powder, Rail, Snow, Stardust, Stash, White Girl

Cocaine with Heroin

Street Names: Speedball

Crack Cocaine

Street Names: Crack, Dice, Garbage, Grit, Hail, Moon Rocks, Nuggets, Sleet, Sugar Block, Tornado, Trash, Trey, Yam, Yay


Street Names: Black Tar, Black Pearl, Black Stuff, Brown Crystal, Brown Rhine, Brown Sugar, Brown Tape, China White, Dope, Dragon, The Dragon, H, He, Horse, Junk, Mud, Number 3, Number 4, Number 8, Sack, Scat, Skag, Skunk, Smack

MDMA Ecstasy/Molly

Street Names: Adam, Beans, Candy, Clarity, Dancing Shoes, Disco Biscuits, E, E-Bomb, Egg Rolls, Eve, Happy Pills, Lover’s Speed, Peace, Rolls, Smartees, The Vowel, Vitamin E, Vitamin X


A drug or other substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, awareness, thoughts, feelings, or behavior


Street Names: 420, Bud, Broccoli, Cheeba, Chronic, Dope, Flower, Ganja, Grass, Green, Hash, Herb, Hot Stick, Jane, Jay, Jolly Green, Mary Jane, Pot, Roach, Reefer, Skunk, Smoke, Trees, Weed


Street Names: Caps, Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms

How to Keep Your Family Safe
What to Do if You Find Counterfeit Pills

Handling unlabeled pills, powders, or needles can be extremely dangerous. Law enforcement officers have safety equipment and are trained to safely handle and properly dispose of these items.

Do not touch or collect these items—even if your intention is to properly dispose of them. By reporting who, what, when, where, and why, you can help officers identify areas of concern so they can help keep the community safe.

If you encounter an unknown substance or medication that does not belong to you—

Safe Storage & Disposal

Any medication can be harmful if taken in the wrong way or by the wrong person. Storing medication properly at home and on the go can help keep everyone safe. Disposing unused or expired medication safely can also prevent accidental overdose or addiction. Here are some ways you can help reduce accidental overdose or misuse of medication:

  • Order a FREE medication lock box
  • Learn more about safe storage and disposal:
    • Order a FREE Dispose Rx packet
    • Drop off at a take back location
    • Ask your pharmacy if they have a medication disposal kiosk or program for the safe disposal of unused or expired prescription medication
  • Talk to your children and family frequently about the dangers of drug misuse and abuse. For tips on how to start this important conversation, visit the prevention page.
Help Raise Awareness

Overdose is the leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45 in America today. More than 100,000 people died of an overdose in the United States from March 2021 to March 2022. Overdose impacts our children, siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, non-blood relatives, and friends. It’s important to recognize the devastating effect opioids are having on our communities. You can help prevent overdose and reduce stigma around opioid use disorder by:

  • Talking about the dangers of opioid use and misuse with your loved ones
  • Recognize that addiction is a disease not a character flaw
  • Recognize and promote national observances

May 10, 2022, was the first National Fentanyl Awareness Day. It was part of a nationwide effort to decrease demand for fentanyl which continues to drive the overdose epidemic. The DEA, public health, non-profit, and law enforcement agencies worked together to educate people about how fentanyl threatens the safety, health, and national security of the American people.

The DEA has created a special exhibit, The Faces of Fentanyl, to commemorate the lives lost from fentanyl poisoning. You can submit photos of loved ones lost to fentanyl. You can also use the hashtag #JustKNOW to help raise awareness and prevent fentanyl-related overdose death and poisonings. is a not-for-profit assembly of grassroots illicit fentanyl awareness groups. The organization is made up of affected families working together to address the impact of deadly synthetic fentanyl. August 21, 2022, was recognized as National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day. The date coincides with Overdose Awareness Day (August 31st). Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held to remember those who have died from an overdose. These events also help address the stigma that remains for those who have had a close family or friend die from an overdose.

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