DEA warns parents about spike in colorful and fake pills laced with Fentanyl

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:35 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - There’s now a new concern in the ongoing opioid crisis, and officials worry this one could pose a serious threat to kids. This week the DEA sent a nationwide warning about “rainbow fentanyl.”

Last year, Fentanyl was responsible for 66% of overdoses or poisonings in the country according to the CDC. That number continues to climb.

A local expert says any parents of kids, teens and young adults shouldn’t panic---but be aware. Brightly colored pills are being marketed specifically for younger age groups. That puts them most at risk. That risk is so high, because these pills can be made right here in our community.

“The ‘street’ idea of drugs has actually kind of moved into our homes and to our schools, or even into like recreational use that some adults do responsibly” said Nathan Tate.

Tate is dedicated to helping people with drug problems. Before he was the director of The Recovery Center at Greenville Tech - he worked for the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. Over the years he’s seen Fentanyl take over the opioid epidemic.

He says it’s even now being found in other drugs.

“Even a small amount of Fentanyl in them, which could be deadly to the majority of us” he said.

Typically, Fentanyl has been used in opiates. But now, it’s being put into drugs that may surprise you.

“We think of Fentanyl as this powder, but you can buy marijuana that has Fentanyl that it’s been mixed with” said Tate.

He says one trend that’s becoming more popular and easier to distribute - are Fentanyl laced pills that mimic pharmaceutical medications for depression, anxiety, or even focus.

“Like our Adderall or Ritalin, Vyvanse or even some of the non-stimulant medications that are widely used and widely used correctly. Those are the type of pills that when produced in someone’s lab or garage or kitchen, and then cut with Fentanyl, find their way into our drug supply in ways that we might not think,” said Tate.

Tate say’s the bright colors can be a marketing tool, to attract a younger crowd.

“This is something that points right towards them with colorful, you know, candy looking pills,” he said.

So be skeptical of anything given to you.

“Any kind of pill that you might be offered or find yourself in the vicinity of, could easily be a false pill” said Tate.

The Phoenix Center in Greenville is also handing out Fentanyl drug test strips to test any pills you’ve been given. Click to learn more.