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  • Writer's pictureSean Behling

Reports of Deadly Rainbow-Colored Fentanyl Pills Across Nation

Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that has been a consistent topic of national concern for many months now. Because The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) calls it the deadliest drug facing this country, it is important to know more about the danger it poses and how to avoid it, especially with the recent emergence of “rainbow fentanyl.”

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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is most commonly prescribed for advanced cancer pain and other such severe pains. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. According to the DEA, even just two milligrams of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose depending on factors like a person’s body size or past usage. Part of the danger lies in the fact that, because of its high potency and low cost, drug dealers will sometimes mix fentanyl in with other drugs, meaning that you could ingest fentanyl without even knowing it. Plus, even if you do know that a pill contains fentanyl, the potency that is put into pills varies so much that you can have no way of knowing whether or not it contains a lethal dosage.


But what is “rainbow fentanyl?” Rainbow fentanyl is the official term for fentanyl pills that are dyed in various bright colors. Reports of illegal rainbow fentanyl pills have been occurring throughout the nation for months, with the first signs of this new drug variety being reported to the DEA in February of 2022, according to the United States Department of Justice. Brightly colored fentanyl has been reported in 26 states, which also includes Ohio, where it was found in Hamilton County in mid-September of 2022.


In 2021 alone, the DEA seized more than 15,000 fentanyl pills, which they say is enough to kill every single American. In late August of 2022, the DEA issued a warning that reports of rainbow fentanyl pills were starting to grow, and to be on the lookout for these deceptively deadly pills.


Some experts and law enforcement agencies believe that the idea of turning fentanyl into brightly colored pills is meant to appeal to kids and young adults by making it look like candy. They also warn that drug sellers are marketing and selling rainbow fentanyl to teenagers through social media. Other experts disagree, stating that it’s unlikely for children to have the money to buy these products, instead claiming that the bright coloring is meant to help drug sellers distinguish between their products.


Whatever the reason, parents are wary of the dangers that these pills can bring. This was especially the case when, leading up to Halloween, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a warning that rainbow fentanyl could be handed out disguised as legitimate candy on Halloween night. This warning also met some skepticism, with experts questioning why drug sellers would bother giving away large amounts of free product simply to make children overdose and die. This skepticism turned out to be correct as after Halloween was over, there appeared to be “not a single credible report of a child actually finding or ingesting ‘rainbow fentanyl’ in their Halloween hauls” (The Appeal).


Despite this false alarm, the threat of rainbow fentanyl still rages on. For the safety of our community, it is important to be on the lookout for rainbow fentanyl and to stop it immediately.


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