Rainbow fentanyl: A Dangerous Trend?

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Drug Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection officials are warning parents about an emerging new drug to hit the streets: Rainbow Fentanyl.

What is Rainbow Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent and highly addictive synthetic opioid that has been linked to a growing number of overdoses and deaths in the United States over the past few years.

Initially developed for pharmaceutical use in patients with severe pain, the streets are being flooded with illicitly produced fentanyl pills that are disguised as other drugs such as Xanax, Ecstasy (MDMA), and methamphetamines to make them more addictive. As little as 2 mg of fentanyl can be lethal to those who ingest it, often unbeknownst to them.

Rainbow-colored fentanyl is made by combining powdered fentanyl (a more potent form of fentanyl) with other substances and dyes to press multi-colored pills that labs recently described as having the feel and consistency of sidewalk chalk or children’s chewable vitamins.

“Rainbow fentanyl” pills found at the Nogales Port of Entry in Arizona. Credit: Photo taken by Customs and Border Patrol Protection, Port of Nogales. All Rights Reserved.

A Dangerous Trend Amongst Younger Users

While fentanyl pills have been on the market for quite some time, the biggest concern is that drug dealers are creating these rainbow-colored fentanyl pills to be marketed specifically to younger users due to it’s candy-like appearance. Just an added layer is that these rainbow fentanyl pills may also contain other harmful illicit substances like heroin, methamphetamines, and animal tranquilizers.

September means that school is starting up again after the long summer break. For some young people, this can be a difficult time as they start to feel the pressures of school and their social lives. It can also be a time when they start to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, this can lead to mental health and substance use problems that can carry into adulthood.

This is why it is so important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the signs of drug use and to get their child help if they start to struggle. There are many resources available to help young people deal with substance abuse, and it is important to get them the help they need before their problem gets out of control.

Tips for Parents: Talk to Your Loved Ones About Rainbow Fentanyl Pills

Have a conversation with them

It is important not to confront them, but rather start a dialogue surrounding the harms of drug use based on facts. You don’t want to make it seem like they are being judged by creating a safe environment where they can be heard.

Talking to your teen about drugs

Be frank about the dangers

The data is out there. On a daily basis, news stories are being published about young adults becoming victims to the fentanyl epidemic. Fentanyl is not just harmful t the user, but it is devastating communities all over the country.

Know the signs

Young adults who are using fentanyl often display signs of typical drug-addicted behavior. These signs and symptoms will vary from person to person, but may include some or all of the following:

  • Social withdrawal

  • Slurred speech

  • Declined performance at work or at school

  • Frequent absences from work or school

  • No longer taking care of daily responsibilities

Seek out professional help

It is crucial to intervene as soon as possible in order to prevent exacerbation of the symptoms and steer the young adult towards a life with the best chance of success and a bright future. Fentanyl withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, so it is advised to do so under medical supervision.

Oftentimes, mental health plays a big role in drug use in the younger age group as it presents itself as an unhealthy coping mechanism. When looking for treatment options, ensure that there is a strong emphasis on mental health, teaching youth how to replace these maladaptive behaviors with healthier habits.

Clear Recovery Centers offers inpatient detox and outpatient treatment in Los Angeles, CA for individuals struggling with mental health and substances such as rainbow fentanyl. Please call us today 877.799.1985 to discuss your treatment options to kickstart your journey to recovery.

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