THURSDAY, September 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning the public that brightly colored fentanyl – dubbed “rainbow fentanyl” – is readily available in the United States.
“Rainbow Fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes and sizes — is a deliberate attempt by drug dealers to promote addiction in children and young adults,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.
“The men and women of the DEA are working tirelessly to stop the rainbow fentanyl trade and take down the Mexican drug cartels responsible for the vast majority of fentanyl trafficked in the United States,” Milgram added in a news outlet publication.
The DEA and other law enforcement officials seized colorful fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 18 states in August. Drugs seized include pills, powders and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk.
Despite claims that some colors may be stronger than others, DEA lab tests have found no evidence to support these claims. Still, fentanyl is extremely dangerous regardless of color, shape, or size, the DEA said.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. A lethal dose of fentanyl is believed to be as little as 2 milligrams, or about 10 to 15 grains of table salt. According to the DEA, it’s impossible to determine how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder without lab testing.
Additionally, fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat to the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 107,622 Americans overdosed and died in 2021, with synthetic opioids like fentanyl being the cause of 66% of those deaths. Drug poisoning is the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.
If you encounter any form of fentanyl, refrain from handling it and call 911 immediately, the DEA advised.
The DEA’s Fentanyl Awareness page lists additional resources for the community and parents.
SOURCE: US Drug Enforcement Administration, press release, August 30, 2022