OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Fentanyl has been making some headlines over the last month. So much so, that the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, issued a warning about “rainbow fentanyl” in late August.
It’s multi-colored fentanyl pills the administration said is being used to target younger people.
“We have seen multicolored fentanyl for years – that is used to press into the different types of pills that will resemble common pills that people are familiar with,” said Mark Woodward with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, or OBN.
Whether it’s in ecstasy, Xanax or oxycodone, fentanyl can be – and has been – seen in Oklahoma in multiple colors, according to Woodward.
“It’s no different than what we’ve seen for several years,” he said.
The DEA issued their warning in late August, and it stated that the multicolored pills have been found in 18 states.
They claim the cartels make it appear as candy to market it to younger people.
“There’s a reason for the color, and that is so it can be disguised typically as ecstasy on the streets, which ecstasy tablets are oftentimes every color you can imagine,” Woodward said.
Woodward said marks can also be seen on them in the form of cartoons or even brand logos, so people know who is selling it and where it is coming from.
Officials say fentanyl is being found in the form of pills, powder and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk.
However, any amount of the synthetic opioid is dangerous. Two milligrams (equal to 10-15 grains of table salt) is considered a lethal dose of the drug.
Fentanyl has also become the number one killer of adults 18 to 45.
“Fentanyl just by itself is every bit as strong as heroin, but it can be up to 100 to 1000 times stronger than morphine or heroin and absolutely deadly,” Woodward said.
The CDC says over 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, 66 percent of those involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.