The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has rung some Halloween-related alarm bells in recent weeks, suggesting that brightly colored fentanyl pills that could hook kids have been found in 21 states, and perhaps counting. The pills are part of a scheme created by the Mexican drug cartel and street dealers who want the pills to “look like candy to children and young people.” Drug traffickers even have candy-like nicknames for the “rainbow fentanyl” pills.
“It looks like candy,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told NBC News. “In fact, some of the drug traffickers have nicknamed it Sweet Tarts, Skittles.”
While the DEA never mentioned Halloween or trick-or-treating, it is indeed the season to hand out candy. So needless to say, fears about multi-colored pills and Halloween are running rampant.
DEA Warn Against ‘Rainbow Fentanyl’
But at this point, the DEA has found no connection to the holiday, Milgram told Fox News.
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.”
Other experts contacted by NPR indicated they don’t believe the cartel is targeting children, as that would be a departure from how it normally does business.
Still, the DEA is clearly concerned.
“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.”