“Candy” causes law enforcement warning to parents

Southside Matt

First developed in 1959 and distributed in 1960, fentanyl has become widely used as an anesthetic. Initially administered intravenously, the pain killer has expanded into a variety of forms including oral lozenges, multiple types of tablets, oral and nasal sprays, transdermal patches, and injectables. Due to its potency, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rates as 50 times that of heroin and 100 times that of morphine, AddictionCenter lists fentanyl as the second most-dangerous drug available in the United States, and only so based on the availability of alcohol.

Fentanyl is so potent that only two milligrams (2 mg) is considered a lethal dose for almost all people. This amount is so minuscule that some people have become violently ill and even died as a result of simply coming into contact with fentanyl powder. As a result, fentanyl has replaced heroin, LSD, and methamphetamine as the most-feared drug on the streets.

The popularity of fentanyl as a street drug began around 2011, with increases in fentanyl-related overdose deaths increasing dramatically each year between 2012 and 2018. This trend has continued into the 2020s, spurred by an increase of illicit fentanyl being trafficked from Mexico and the drug cartels there. As the cost of producing fentanyl has decreased, so has the street price for the synthetic opioid.

This cost decrease has been aided by Chinese manufacturers. Not able to produce the drug and distribute it overseas themselves, those who manufacture the components of fentanyl production have entered into agreements with Mexican drug cartels to deliver the components to Mexico, where they are combined in cow pastures, open fields, garages, and makeshift home laboratories to create fentanyl destined for the United States.

Traditionally fentanyl sold on the street has been distributed in blue- or white-colored tablets or a white powder. A trend considered by many as disturbing has emerged that has changed this trend. The tablets being distributed are changing colors, becoming multi-colored, as a matter of fact.

The reason this trend is disturbing to some is that it indicates a desire by the cartels to market their products to younger customers. Similar trends have played out in the past with other drugs. Street dealers have been known to younger and younger agents and to provide “free samples” of their drugs to get middle schoolers and kids even younger hooked on the drugs. They then also have been known to package their drugs similar to popular candies to further this effort.

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School ChildrenDepositPhotos.com

This concern was echoed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in a press release:

“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,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “The men and women of the DEA are relentlessly working to stop the trafficking of rainbow fentanyl and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of the fentanyl that is being trafficked in the United States.”

The DEA reported that the brightly-colored pills, powder, and blocks were seized by law enforcement in 18 states during the month of August 2022. The DEA further claims the trend is “a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.”

These seizures come at a time when many schools are just starting or preparing to start their 2022-2023 school year.

Although there have been some claims that the colored pills are more potent than others, “there is no indication through DEA’s laboratory testing that this is the case.” Even so, the two milligrams of fentanyl that is considered a lethal dose to adults, much less to children, is equivalent to 10 to 15 grains of table salt. This potency has the DEA considering fentanyl to be “the deadliest drug facing this country.” They cite the CDC statement that, of the 107,622 drug overdoses in 2021, “66 percent of those deaths (were) related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.”

As the cartels seek younger customers for their drugs, poisonings have become the leading killer of Americans aged 18 to 45. Fentanyl supplied by the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation Cartels has been the overwhelming cause of this status.

Law enforcement across the nation is cautioning parents to be on the lookout for these pills. It is likely that they will be distributed in schools with unsuspecting children thinking they are just getting free candy.

Any encounter with fentanyl in any form should be reported immediately to 9-1-1. Care should be taken to not handle the drug at all, or even to get close to it.

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Hailing from the Great State of Texas, South Side Matt monitors government for compliance with the Constitutional values that founded the United States, and works to maintain liberty for all in that spirit. His articles focus on furthering this cause, but also occasionally go "off track" into lighter topics such as cooking, general life and others.

Fort Worth, TX
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