San Diego County School District Warns Parents of ‘Rainbow Fentanyl’ – NBC 7 San Diego

Officials with local school districts and the Drug Enforcement Administration have issued warnings about so-called “rainbow fentanyl” in bright colors.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said last week that rainbow pills have now been seized in 21 states, first reported in February. While fentanyl is more often disguised as oxycodone or other prescription drugs, rainbow pill sightings are on the rise.

“We believe it’s being marketed to young people,” Milgram said.

Parents with children in class in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District received an email Tuesday night warning them about the drug in the form of candy.

“The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has recently identified a new trend in which ‘rainbow fentanyl’ comes in bright colors and in a variety of forms, including pills, powders, and lumps that resemble sidewalk chalk or candy,” the email states. “It could be similar to Candy Smart, so we think it’s especially important to be vigilant during Halloween.”

Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. According to authorities, fentanyl of any color, shape or size should be considered extremely dangerous unless it is administered by a medical professional. Drug poisoning is the number one killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.

“Please share with your child that any pill (regardless of color, shape or size) that is not from a health care provider or pharmacist may contain fentanyl and can be fatal,” says La Mesa-Spring Valley The email continued. “Often, people who buy or take these pills don’t know they contain fentanyl.”

Law enforcement officials across the country have been grappling with a surge in drugs in urban and rural communities, with powerful synthetic drugs such as fentanyl causing record overdose deaths. The global coronavirus pandemic overshadowed the U.S. opioid epidemic, but it quickly returned to the public consciousness as overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021.

In the past four months, authorities have investigated nearly 400 cases, 51 of which were related to drug overdoses and 35 directly linked to two cartels. In addition to being compressed into fake pills, fentanyl powder has been diverted into other drugs like cocaine and heroin, Milgram said.

About two-thirds of overdose deaths in the United States are associated with fentanyl or other potent, illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids.

Jonathan Culkins, a professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said containing the compound in law enforcement is a challenge because the drug can be made in a lab anywhere, not in cocaine or heroin etc. – and because it is very effective and trafficked in small quantities.

“How can law enforcement find a few metric tons in an economy that trades millions of tons of raw materials?” Culkins asked.

The best way to deal with the fentanyl crisis, Culkins said, is to invest in treatment and increase the supply of naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug — but added that reducing supplies through arrests may be worthwhile Give it a try.

The Associated Press contributed to this report – Ed.

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