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The Daily Tar Heel

Complete Nutrition distributed pills in plastic bags to UNC students at FallFest

Lauren McCay/DTH

Complete Nutrition distributed some samples of diet pill EphedFX to students at FallFest in plastic bags with no additional information.

FallFest sponsors could be required to list the items they will distribute to students after pills wrapped in plastic bags were given as free samples Sunday night.

Complete Nutrition, a nutritional supplement retail store, paid $250 for a table at FallFest. According to Vince Boulay, a franchise manager for the store’s Triangle Area locations, staff members began passing out various product samples in pre-packaged boxes.

Later that night, samples of EphedFx, an appetite suppressant which comes with an extensive warning label, was distributed via plastic bags that included no more information than the pill’s name.

“This is not something we thought someone would do,” Carolina Union Director Don Luse said. “This had never crossed anyone’s radar before.”

FallFest officials were alerted of the issue after a photo of the pill in the plastic bag was sent to them via Twitter.
Complete Nutrition stopped distributing the sample of EphedFX after Luse saw the photo, approached Complete Nutrition’s table and asked them to stop.

“We did not know what he was doing until somebody made me aware that he was basically taking pills out of a bottle, putting them in a baggie and giving them away as samples,” Luse said.

Boulay said Complete Nutrition representatives likely distributed the pills via plastic bags because they ran out of pre-packaged samples.

“They probably ran out of that with the kids, so they started labeling them and put them in pill boxes.

“I understand how it may have come off and that’s why it was taken care of immediately,” he said.

Allison Hussey, who writes for The Daily Tar Heel, received one of the pills in a plastic bag as she walked down South Road during FallFest. Unsure of what she received, she sent a photo to Union staff via Twitter and told police what was happening.

“I don’t understand how anyone would think that’s remotely a good idea,” she said. “Even if it’s a somewhat legitimate product, it’s not right.”

Boulay said Complete Nutrition has a product catalog that is typically included with samples.

But Hussey said she received no information about the pill except for hearing a representative call it a “fat burner” and the name EphedFX written on the plastic bag.

According to Complete Nutrition’s website, EphedFX gives “the energy boost of Ephedrine without the negative side effects.” The website also includes an extensive warning label that wasn’t provided with the pills given out in the plastic bags.

“It’s certainly not malicious,” Luse said. “It just probably wasn’t the smartest thing.”

Luse said next year’s sponsor contracts will include an addendum asking sponsors to detail in writing what they will distribute to students.

“Every year we have an evaluation,” he said. “We go back through FallFest and talk about what worked and what didn’t, and we solve problems that come up.”

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