COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s fight against drugs took a new turn after the state Attorney General’s office announced earlier this month that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office confiscated more than one thousand brightly-colored pills known as rainbow fentanyl.
The Attorney General’s office recently announced the first appearance of rainbow fentanyl in the state. The colorful pills are laced with dangerous amounts of fentanyl and designed to look like candy.
“Traffickers are finding creative ways to include fentanyl in other substances,” said Mike Gersz, who serves as the Outpatient Clinic Director at Maryhaven, a facility that helps those with addiction. “Making pills look real, making candy look real, including it in other substances for business reasons, economic reasons, and obviously, we know that those have deadly consequences.”
Gersz said that these pills look like candy and can be deceptive. People who had legally been prescribed painkillers but turned to drug dealers when their prescription runs out are one of the highest at-risk populations.
Rainbow fentanyl, however, can be marketed to anyone and can have deadly effects.
“People have no history of opioid use, they have no tolerance built up, and when people will use something or ingest something that they believe it's something else, and it actually includes fentanyl. There are deadly consequences,” said Gersz.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has created various campaigns to try to educate Americans about the importance of knowing what you’re putting in your body. The main takeaway is to make sure you only take prescribed pills from a reputable distributor like your pharmacist or doctor.
Gersz said that it’s going to take everyone working together to really combat the issue and that it’s important to equip yourself with all resources possible.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from addiction, you can call the Ohio Drug Addiction and Substance Abuse Hotline at 866-210-1303. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.