WASHINGTON, D.C. – Drug enforcement officials are warning that gangs look to be targeting younger victims with a new type of fentanyl seeming designed to attract kids.

In an announcement Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Agency said the gangs had begun producing the powerful opioid fentanyl in bright colors, with agents calling the pills “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,” DEA administrator Anne Milgram said in release.

The DEA is working to defeat Mexican drug cartels responsible for most of the fentanyl being trafficked to the United States, Milgram stated.

Examples of rainbow fentanyl have been seized by the DEA in various forms, including pills and powder, as well as blocks which resemble sidewalk chalk. No change in potency was found between the various colors, despite what some claim, the DEA stated.

In a release, the DEA noted fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

Just two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose. Without laboratory testing, there is no way to know how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder. 

Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country, the DEA stated. According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66% of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

NARCAN nasal spray has been proven to be effective first aid in treating a potential opioid overdose.