As the opioid crisis continues to sweep across the country, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a warning about “multi-colored” or “rainbow” fentanyl that might be used to target children.
The alert was issued following a recent string of suspected overdoses and deaths involving fentanyl in children and teens.
Content warning below // substance use
In August 2022, DEA and law enforcement agencies seized brightly-colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 18 states.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement:
Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults. The men and women of the DEA are relentlessly working to stop the trafficking of rainbow fentanyl and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of the fentanyl that is being trafficked in the United States.
The agency stated that fentanyl is primarily supplied by two drug cartels in the U.S.: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50x more potent than heroin and 100x more potent than morphine. Only two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, is enough to kill someone.
In 2021, the DEA launched an initiative dubbed One Pill Can Kill Public Awareness Campaign to educate Americans, especially parents, about the dangers of fentanyl.
The agency urges anyone who comes into contact with fentanyl call 911 immediately.
Celebrities and the Dangers of Fentanyl
Several celebrities have accidentally overdosed on fentanyl, including Demi Lovato.
Brandon Johnson, the individual responsible for providing the “Cool for the Summer” singer with the drugs that nearly killed them in 2018, has maintained his claim that he didn’t know the pills he sold the pop star were laced with fentanyl.
Johnson told TMZ that Lovato texted him at 4AM on July 24, 2018, asking him to come over to her house, which Johnson interpreted as an implicit request for drugs. He alleged that the two proceeded to freebase pills together and noted “Demi knew they were not pharmaceuticals, but much stronger.” He firmly denied knowing the drugs were tainted.
According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021 alone.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug and/or alcohol dependence, help is available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.
To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or send a text message to 1-800-487-4889.