DEA warns of spike in 'rainbow fentanyl' as traffickers target teens

Investigators say dealers are using the bold colors to attract teens and young adults.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Dealers target Bay Area teens with 'rainbow fentanyl'
EMBED <>More Videos

The Dept. of Justice is warning of a rise in what's called rainbow fentanyl- a brightly colored version that dealers are using to target teens.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning of a rise in what's called rainbow fentanyl - a brightly colored version of the synthetic opioid that dealers are using to target teens and young adults.

"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."

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, officials said.

According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Delaware to include fentanyl test strips in Narcan kits

Earlier this week, Delaware health officials said they will soon include fentanyl test strips in Narcan kits distributed to the public.

The Division of Public Health's Office of Health Crisis Response says the effort is aimed at preventing accidental overdoses.

Officials say fentanyl is now the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in Delaware and it is found in more than 80% of fatal overdoses.

According to Division of Forensic Science data, there were 515 overdose deaths in Delaware last year, an increase of 15% from 2020.

The Division of Public Health also distributes 10-pack fentanyl test strip kits through a free mail-order program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.