New deadly drug disguised as candy: Ohio law enforcement seizes ‘rainbow fentanyl’ pills
Columbus, Ohio — The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has identified confiscated drugs as “rainbow fentanyl,” according to Attorney General Dave Yost.
These brightly colored pills are designed to resemble candy and are part of a deadly marketing strategy by drug traffickers to target young people. The recent discovery of 1,025 rainbow fentanyl pills, intercepted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as part of a Columbus-area drug-trafficking investigation, is the BCI’s first instance of rainbow fentanyl.
“These particular pills originated in Mexico but were intercepted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office before they could be distributed,” Yost said in a statement. He urged law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant and treat all drug evidence as hazardous as fentanyl can exist in multiple forms and is increasingly being seen in combination with other drugs.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has previously warned of rainbow fentanyl, which is a deliberate effort by traffickers to mask deadly fentanyl in a form attractive to young Americans. Local agencies that need additional training or tools to safely identify fentanyl and other substances in the field can reach out to BCI for such resources.
In 2022, BCI’s Crime Lab identified fentanyl in 9,151 items submitted by law enforcement, making up 22.1% of all drug analyses. Already in 2023, BCI’s lab has processed 2,306 items containing fentanyl, including analogs of fentanyl such as para-flouorfentanyl, which was found in 6.4% of all drug analyses conducted in 2022.
Yost warned that consumers should not be fooled by the appearance of these drugs and should not take any pills that were not prescribed by a doctor. “Rainbow fentanyl is death disguised as candy,” Yost said. “The bottom line is this: If you’re taking a pill that wasn’t prescribed by your doctor, you can’t be certain of what you are consuming.”
The criminal investigation into this drug-trafficking case remains ongoing.