The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is advising the public of an alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl available across the United States. “In August 2022, DEA and our law enforcement partners seized brightly-colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 18 states. Dubbed “rainbow fentanyl” in the media, this trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.”
Seizures of “rainbow fentanyl” across the US have spiked recently, causing law enforcement officials to issue public health alerts to residents in their jurisdictions.
Rainbow fentanyl is a colorful version of the illicit synthetic opioid that can be found in a pill form, resembling candy or powdered blocks that look like sidewalk chalk. Batches of rainbow fentanyl have been seized in Arizona, Oregon, California, and Washington, D.C. within the past week, including more than 15,000 pills at the Nogales Port of Entry in Arizona and 800 pills and 4 grams of multicolored powder during a search in Multnomah County, Oregon, according to a USA Today report.
Experts have differing theories as to why illicit drug manufacturers are producing brightly colored fentanyl. Some have suggested in public statements that the appearance of rainbow fentanyl is designed to appeal to young people.
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