JACKSON COUNTY – Law enforcement officials are warning parents about a recent trend of drug cartels disguising the deadly drug fentanyl as candy, such as Nerds and Skittles.
“Parents absolutely must educate both themselves and their children,” said Sheriff Rick Meyer. “The DEA has determined that this is a deliberate effort to target children and young adults. Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing us at this time.”
Known as “rainbow fentanyl,” the pills and powder come in a variety of bright colors similar to candy. Drug traffickers utilize social media to gain access to adolescents and teens.
Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. As little as two milligrams – an amount equal to about 10-15 grains of salt – is considered a lethal dose.
Last month the Drug Enforcement Agency seized brightly-colored fentanyl in 18 states. Some of it was contained in Nerds and Skittles packaging and some was in block form, resembling sidewalk chalk.
The agency said approximately 40% of the pills contain a potentially lethal dose of the drug.
“There is no way to know which pill will kill you and which one will not,” stressed Sheriff Meyer. “We have seen far too many overdose deaths in our community and some have resulted from fentanyl. I cannot stress enough how extremely dangerous this drug is.”
The rate of deaths in the United States from synthetic opioids has reached crisis proportions. The CDC said over the 12-month period ending in January 2022, 107,375 Americans died of drug overdoses with 67% related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
The drug is often mixed with other illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin and users are often unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl. Many times, the drugs are sold as fake prescription pills, such as Percocet, oxycodone, Xanax and Adderall, which can be impossible to tell from real ones.
“These drug cartels are preying on our children with only one thing – profits – in mind. Please take time today to have a family discussion regarding illegal drugs and the many forms in which it can be disguised,” said Sheriff Meyer. “You could absolutely be saving lives.”
For more information on how to talk to your children about drugs, visit dea.org.