UTAH (ABC4) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning the public of an alarming trend emerging of brightly-colored “rainbow fentanyl” across the United States. 

The DEA says the new method is used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl to young people and children by making the drug look like candy. Brightly-colored fentanyl is being seized by DEA and their law enforcement partners in multiple forms including pills, powder, and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk.

“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 Anne Milgram, DEA Administrator. “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 – a synthetic opioid – is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. The DEA warns just two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose. 

“Without laboratory testing, there is no way to know how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder,” the DEA stated in a press release.

According to the CDC, Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing the United States with over 70,000 Americans dying of drug overdoses related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

If you encounter fentanyl in any form, do not handle it, and call 911 immediately.