MINNEAPOLIS -- News that some of the pills found in Prince's home were counterfeit reveals a disturbing trend in Minnesota and across the United States.
Sources tell the Associated Press that bottles found in his Paisley Park home were not labeled with the correct name of the pills in them. The anonymous source says many of the pills were found inside aspirin and vitamin bottles.
"What this means and what Prince's death illustrates is that when people buy drugs these days, they literally do not know what they are getting," said Carol Falkowski, CEO of Drug Abuse Dialogues and an epidemiologist who monitors trends for the national institute of drug abuse.
She says the discovery of fentanyl in Prince's home is a major cause for concern.
"The fact that this synthetic fentanyl is showing up both in street drugs and pressed into counterfeit pills that look like legitimate pills is an incredible change in the drug abuse situation," said Falkowski.
She says since 2013, more than 1,000 people in this country have died from counterfeit fentanyl.
"This synthetic fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than morphine and 30 to 50 times stronger than street heroin, has showed up in samples of street heroin, street cocaine -- it's also showed up being pressed into pills to resemble Xanax and pills that resemble morphine," said Falkowski.
She says raising awareness that there are pills out there that are not what you think they are is important.
"People literally do not know what they are getting when they buy street drugs or even prescription drugs from someone other than a pharmacist," said Falkowski.
"And also getting people addicted to opioids who might be drawn to heroin, which fentanyl is most often mixed, need to get the help they need to reverse their addiction."
Falkowski will be speaking at Saving Lives, Innovative Solutions to the Opiod Crisis. It's a two-day symposium with law enforcement and health officials. Fentanyl will be a topic of discussion.