DEA Says Drug Cartels Are Putting Fentanyl In Candy To Sell To Kids

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Mexican criminal groups have been marketing “rainbow fentanyl” in an effort to appeal to young adults and children and boost sales, the US Drug Enforcement Administration said.

But two members of the cartel told Business Insider they’re actually trying to do the opposite.

Back in the fall, DEA administrator Anne Milgram warned that there was “an alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl available across the United States.” The DEA followed by reminding citizens to be on the lookout last month around Halloween.

“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,” Milgram said, via Business Insider.

But a member of the cartel and cook of the drug said that is not at all the case. Instead, the rainbow coloring is intended to make the fentanyl “look different than coke or white heroin.” This according to the cartel member told Insider.

Per the report, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. died from a fentanyl overdose.

“We know that some of the dealers in the US started mixing cocaine with ‘fenta’ without letting their buyers know, and that is very dangerous,” the cartel source told Insider.

Drug Cartels Are Selling Rainbow Fentanyl

“Also we mix some of the heroin with fentanyl to make it more powerful, but we mark it, to let the buyer know that this one has ‘fenta.’ Whatever happens when it’s taken from our hands, it’s not our problem.”

The cartel member added that their mission is to sell solely to people who “want” the drugs.

“Why would we want to make kids addicts? What good would that do to us?” the cook said, via Insider. “We want to sell what the people are asking for in the US, but not to kids or people who do not want to take drugs.”

Despite all this, the DEA has said that drug pushers are often referring to the colored fentanyl as “Skittles” or “Sweet Tarts.”

That said, one illegal drug expert told NPR that the colored pills on the streets are nothing new.

“We get them almost on a daily basis,” said Nabarun Dasgupta, a researcher studying illegal drugs at the University of North Carolina. “We see pinks and purples, yellow, green, red, aqua, fuchsia. It’s a pretty wide palette. Blue is the predominant color, but it’s not surprising to see any of those.”

Either way, the DEA is clearly concerned with not just the drugs themselves. But the appealing colors in which they are now being presented.

“This is another tactic that they’re using to get more fentanyl to more people,” Milgram told NBC. “The more drugs they can sell, the more addiction they drive, the more profit they make.”

Read More: Two-Year-Old Dies From Mom’s Fentanyl Bought With Stimulus Check

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