Federal authorities across the country have issued new warnings for parents to be cognizant of fentanyl pills that can resemble candy and blocks of sidewalk chalk. Patrick Trainor, supervisory special agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Philadelphia, told WTXF-TV there has been “an increase in colors, in shapes of these pills to almost mimic the colors of a rainbow” on Thursday (Sept. 8).
Trainor and other agents say the new trend is targeting younger adults and children. Last year, more than 100,000 overdose deaths were reported. Fentanyl is responsible for roughly 65 percent of those deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Cobb County, Georgia, an organized crime task force says the drug has popped up in recent months. Aside from rainbow fentanyl, the drug is also known as purple heroin. The synthetic opioid is said to be at least 50 percent stronger than heroin and is lethal in doses as low as 2 milligrams.
In a press release, the DEA said the brightly colored drug has been found in at least 18 states. “It crosses all demographics, socioeconomics, geography, you know, this is all of our problems, and we should be working on a solution, and I think education is a part of that solution. It’s not just on the enforcement side,” Orville Greene, special agent in charge of the DEA Detroit Field Division, told WDIV-TV.
When speaking with WDAF-TV, Atchison County, Kansas Sheriff Jack Laurie added, “It’s obviously more dangerous now where they’re coming out with more colors. If you look at the latest release from the DEA, they look like a lot like sweet tarts.”
“Now they’ve decided, ‘OK, we’re just going change the color’ because we’ve been really hammering to the community about the dangers of the blue pills, that they say, ‘Well we’ll just switch it up,’ which is basically what has happened,” DEA Agent Rogeana Patterson-King said Friday (Sept. 10).