As you may have seen in the news, federal and state officials are issuing warnings about the dangers of a new form of fentanyl called “rainbow fentanyl.” The drug comes in the form of brightly colored pills and powders that look like candy and blocks that look like sidewalk chalk.. Because of the new form, people purchasing these pills may be unaware that they contain fentanyl.
“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,” Anne Milgram, administrator for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said in a press release.
Fentanyl, which is an opioid, is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), fentanyl-related overdose deaths among youth ages 10 to 19 have increased 600 percent over the last five years.
What family members can do:
- Talk to your student about the dangers of buying medication online or from anyone other than a pharmacist. Both drug dealers and illicit on-line websites sell pills that look like prescription medications such as Percocet, Oxycodone, Xanax, Klonopin, Adderall, and Ritalin, which may be attractive to pre-teens and teens but may be laced with fentanyl.
- Show your student photos of rainbow fentanyl and urge them to avoid taking these pills from either friends or strangers.
- Direct your student to tell a trusted adult - such as a teacher, school counselor, or principal – if they see these brightly colored pills.
- If you believe your child is struggling with drug use, reach out to your principal or school counselor to get connected to resources.
US Drug Enforcement Administration: “DEA Warns of Brightly Colored Fentanyl Used to Target Young Americans”
US Drug Enforcement Administration: “One Pill Can Kill”
California Department of Public Health: "Rainbow Fentanyl Alert"