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Posted on: January 31, 2023

Rainbow Fentanyl Used to Target Children, Teens

"rainbow" fentanyl pills

Bothell Police wants community members, and especially parents, to be aware of brightly colored fentanyl pills used to target children, teens and young adults.  clear bottle of rainbow-colored fentanyl pills, held by latex-gloved hand

Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin.   In August, 2022 the Drug Enforcement Agency issued a warning about the emergence of fentanyl pills that are brightly colored.  Cartels may be using these candy-like colors to sell more of the potentially deadly drug to children and teens.

Since August 2022, law enforcement agencies across the West Coast and Pacific Northwest have been warning about the spread of these colorful fentanyl pills.  multi-colored fentanyl pills.

On January 26, Bothell Police officers seized dozens of rainbow fentanyl pills, during an arrest on unrelated charges. Officers responded to a 911 call about an in-progress suspected theft at a store in the 18300 block of 120th Ave NE.  The pills were found in the pockets of two suspects arrested in the theft case.  Officers have not obtained evidence that the suspects are involved in illegal-drug distribution.rainbow fentanyl that looks like sugar cubes

While the fentanyl seized by officers on January 26 resembled pills,  other colorful forms have  have turned up in other cities, some resembling sugar cubes.  

More commonly, fentanyl is made to look like prescription (blue) oxycodone pills. image shows real and fake prescription oxycodone pills.  Similar looking. Fakes are fentanyl.

Despite some rumors about varying potency of some colors or forms of fentanyl, DEA labs have found no evidence of this. All forms and colors should be considered highly dangerous.  In fact,  just two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a lethal dose. 

Law enforcement partners at the federal and local levels are working together to locate and arrest traffickers of these drugs, with significant, recent success.  But much more work must be done. 

To keep children safe, it's important for parents, caregivers and community members to be aware of the dangers, along with the new ways children are being targeted.   Learn more about the dangers of fentanyl, and how to help protect yourself and those you love. 

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