Nordstrom has pulled a high-end Italian fashion line's pill-popping motif after a Minneapolis drug counselor ignited outrage that it glamorizes drug use.

Moschino, an Italian clothing brand known for being irreverent, bold and sometimes controversial, launched a clothing line that includes handbags that resemble prescription pill bottles and clothing peppered with colorful capsules. The items, sold at Nordstrom and Saks, are provoking protests in Minnesota and across the country for being tone-deaf and callous about a national drug epidemic that claims tens of thousands of lives each year.

A Nordstrom official confirmed via a one-sentence e-mail on Thursday that the retailer will no longer offer the drug-themed collection. The move reverses the retailer's decision earlier this week to keep the items in its stores.

Saks, which appears to still offer the Capsule clothing line, has not responded to a request for comment.

Nordstrom has several retail locations in the Twin Cities, including at the Mall of America and Ridgedale Center.

"It's a victory," said Randy Anderson, an alcohol and drug counselor in Minneapolis, who launched an online petition on Saturday in hopes of persuading the retailers to remove the Capsule collection. By Thursday, Anderson had collected nearly 1,500 signatures on the petition, attracted national media attention and spurred some to boycott the stores until the items were removed.

Moschino introduced its Capsule line during New York's 2016 Fashion Week, saying the collection is inspired by the packaging and instructional inserts of over-the-counter medication and offers customers a colorful selection of garments. Items include a $950 prescription pill bottle shoulder bag, a $650 short black dress featuring colorful pills and $1,095 pill-package-inspired purse.

In his letter to the retailers, Anderson notes that most people who became addicted to opioids started with a legal prescription from a physician after an injury or medical procedure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than in any year on record.

Anderson said he'll continue to push Saks to pull the items from its stores and will try to get Moschino to drop the line.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788