Brightly colored versions of the synthetic opioid fentanyl are appearing across the US, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In a press statement, the Agency reported that the colorful fentanyl, dubbed “rainbow fentanyl”, has been seized in 18 different states and has been found in multiple forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk. Testing has not revealed any specific color to be of a higher potency. The DEA warns that each color, shape and size should be considered extremely dangerous.

“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,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “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.”


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Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66% of the 107,622 drug overdose deaths in 2021 were attributed to synthetic opioids.

Reference

DEA warns of brightly-colored fentanyl used to target young Americans. News release. Accessed August 30, 2022. https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2022/08/30/dea-warns-brightly-colored-fentanyl-used-target-young-americans

This article originally appeared on MPR