Drug cartels are using brightly colored “rainbow fentanyl” pills to target young people, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration warned Monday, signaling a new threat in the opioid crisis.
In an interview Monday, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said the drug is being sold in pills and powders that come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes intended to look like candy. Sometimes traffickers even nickname the products “Sweet Tarts” and “Skittles” after real candy.
“This is another tactic that they’re using to get more fentanyl to more people,” Milgram said. “The more drugs they can sell, the more addiction they drive, the more profit they make.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is “50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine,” and it is the “deadliest drug threat facing this country,” the DEA says on its website. Nearly 108,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. last year, with 66% of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The DEA issued a warning about rainbow fentanyl last month.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Kate Snow and Safia Samee Ali