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Is Rainbow Fentanyl a Threat to Young People This Halloween?

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Halloween is much safer today than it used to be.  Most parents no longer allow their kids to trick-or-treat unsupervised at night.  Instead, kids trick or treat or attend community and school-sponsored Halloween events supervised by adults.  Despite this, parents and children should be cautious about the trick-or-treat candy they receive.  It could contain the dangerous drug, rainbow fentanyl.

Over the years, Halloween has been associated with various dangers for children.  Razor blades and needles in candy were just a couple of the horrors parents had to watch for.  Then, it was marijuana-laced gummies that caused parents to worry. 

Fortunately, many of the candy-tampering incidents were later proven to be hoaxes or accidents.  However, due to the prevalence of illicit drugs today, a child could easily be exposed to a dangerous substance on Halloween or at any other time of year.

What Is Rainbow Fentanyl?

What is rainbow fentanyl?  It is the latest version of the deadly drug fentanyl.  It comes in brightly colored pills that resemble candy or chunks that resemble sidewalk chalk.  The colors make these pills attractive to children and young people.  

Fentanyl is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs available today.  It is often used to increase the potency of other drugs such as: 

  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Opioids
  • Marijuana
  • Heroin

The drug is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.  Certainly, this is not a substance any parent would want their child to consume.

Last year, fentanyl was responsible for more than 57,000 overdose deaths nationwide. According to the CDC, most teen overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl.  More than 950 teens between the ages of 14 and 18 died of an overdose in 2020.  About 70% of those deaths were from illicit fentanyl.

Drug Dealers Use Candy-Looking Drugs to Target Children

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), has advised the public to watch for colorful pill and powder versions of fentanyl this Halloween.  Considering how similar the pills are to multicolored candy, children may be attracted to them.  It only takes one rainbow fentanyl pill to cause a fatal overdose, especially for a young child.

DEA Administrator, Anne Milgram issued this statement about rainbow fentanyl:

“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.  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 use of recreational drugs these days places kids at risk of exposure to fentanyl.  The chance of ingesting fentanyl-laced oxycodone or other illicit prescription drugs is high.  Fentanyl has also been used to lace marijuana.  According to recent studies, the portion of fentanyl seized in pill form increased from 13.8% to 29.2% between 2018 and 2021.  Drug enforcement officials have found this form of fentanyl in at least 21 states so far.  

How Are Kids Exposed to Rainbow Fentanyl?

Many experts say that it is unlikely that your child will get rainbow fentanyl pills in their trick-or-treat bag.  But, this risk does exist, and the dangers of rainbow fentanyl are significant, so it’s wise to be cautious.  

Kids who consume this deadly drug often come across it by chance. Often, poorly hidden pills are the cause of accidental ingestion of fentanyl by a child.  For example, the DEA recently found 15,000 brightly colored fentanyl pills hidden in a Lego box.  Imagine a young child finding this box and thinking the pills are candy.  

Also, many teens who use social media to find recreational drugs have no idea what they’re getting.  Sadly, far too many of these kids suffer fatal overdoses after unknowingly ingesting fentanyl-laced substances.

Should Parents Be Worried About Rainbow Fentanyl This Halloween? 

Parents should be aware of the risks of rainbow fentanyl this Halloween as a precaution.  No one can predict whether the drug will find its way into your child’s candy bag.  But, the risk of a child accidentally finding or ingesting rainbow fentanyl is a valid concern today.  

Everyone loves scary stories, especially during Halloween.  But, no one wants any of the scary stuff to come true.  Unfortunately, while rainbow fentanyl stories are terrifying, they’re true.  Fentanyl kills and many of its victims are unaware of the danger they are in.  

To Learn About Fentanyl Addiction Treatment, Contact Design for Change Recovery

Although Halloween fear-mongering is an age-old practice, we’ll leave that to the ghosts, goblins, and witches.  The intent of this article is not meant to incite fear or panic.  The purpose of this information is to raise awareness about a deadly drug trend that specifically targets children and young adults year-round.

If you or someone you love is struggling with fentanyl addiction, contact Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, CA.  We offer the most effective, evidence-based treatment programs available today.  


  • – DEA Warns of Brightly-Colored Fentanyl Used to Target Young Americans
  • – Fentanyl Drives Spike in Teen Overdose Deaths, Even as Drug Use Falls to New Low
  • – Trends in Seizures of Powders and Pills Containing Illicit Fentanyl in the United States, 2018 through 2021
  • – DEA:  15,000 Rainbow Fentanyl Pills Found Hidden in a Lego Container During Arrest
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