DEA Issues Letter to E-Commerce Companies on the Sale of Pill Presses Used to Make Fentanyl Pills

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a letter Tuesday to e-commerce companies regarding the sale of pill presses.  As regulated entities under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), e-commerce platforms are generally required to comply with CSA recordkeeping, identification, and reporting requirements on the distribution, importation, and exportation of pill press machines.

The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented drug poisoning epidemic.  In 2022, approximately 110,757 Americans were killed by drug poisonings.  Approximately 70% of these drug poisonings involved fentanyl.  The drug cartels primarily responsible for manufacturing fentanyl and smuggling it into the United States are the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco Cartel.  These cartels, their members and associates, and other drug traffickers are using pill presses to shape fentanyl powder into pills, and they are using stamps to imprint markings and logos onto those pills as they are pressed.  With these tools, criminal actors are able to produce pills that look like legitimate prescription medication—like oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall—but are not.  Those pills actually contain fentanyl and other deadly drugs.  Criminals then sell those pills on social media and in our communities, often to people who do not know that the pills are not real or that they contain deadly drugs.

In 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 79 million fake pills containing fentanyl—a more than 33% increase from the year before.  DEA laboratory testing currently indicates that 7 out of 10 pills contain a potentially deadly dose of fentanyl. 

DEA has found that pill presses and stamps that can be used to make fentanyl pills are being offered for sale on various e-commerce platforms.  E-commerce entities selling pill press machines are generally “regulated persons” under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 802(38), and therefore, subject to the recordkeeping, identification, and reporting requirements of 21 U.S.C. § 830.  As regulated entities, e-commerce platforms are required to comply with CSA recordkeeping and reporting requirements on the distribution, importation, and exportation of pill press machines.  This means that they must collect information on the buyer and seller and provide notice to the DEA of any sale, import, export, or transfer.  Please see more detailed guidance of reporting requirements at

In 2019, DEA launched the Industry Liaison Project, in which it engaged with more than two dozen e-commerce companies, websites, and domain registrars about the sale of pill presses online and related regulatory requirements.  In response to this outreach, several companies—including Amazon and Etsy—banned the sale of pill presses and stamps altogether and removed these products from their websites.

“Drug traffickers are killing Americans by selling fentanyl hidden in fake pills made to look like real prescription medicines.  This is possible because drug traffickers are able to buy the tools they need, like pill presses and stamps, online,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.  “E-commerce platforms cannot turn a blind eye to the fentanyl crisis and to the sale of pill presses on their platforms.  They must do their part to protect the public, and when they do not, DEA will hold them accountable.”

DEA will continue to use every tool at its disposal to help fight this drug poisoning and overdose crisis and to save American lives.

For more information on tableting and encapsulating machines, visit DEA pill press resource webpage.  For more information on fentanyl and fake pills, visit One Pill Can Kill |

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