KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brightly colored pills are the latest effort by drug dealers to attract younger users to try the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
The DEA and other law enforcement agencies began seizing the "rainbow" pills in August 2022 in 18 states, according to a news release from the DEA.
The colored fentanyl also comes in powder and chalk form, according to the DEA news release.
"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,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. “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.”
There's no evidence different colored pills, powder or chalk produce a more intense high, according to the DEA.
Fentanyl is an extremely powerful and deadly drug, 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
A two-milligram dose of fentanyl can be fatal and it's become the deadliest illegal drug in the U.S., according to the DEA.
Statistics show that 66% of the more than 100,000 overdose deaths in 2021 in America were related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
The DEA says two criminal drug networks, the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel, supply most of the illicit fentanyl in the U.S.
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