Florida's attorney general warns about 'rainbow' fentanyl ahead of Halloween
"Whether these drugs are being transported in candy boxes or mixed with other common drugs ... the threat posed to the safety of kids and young adults is very real." Attorney General Ashley Moody says.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning families about the possibility of "rainbow" fentanyl disguised as candy being distributed on Halloween.
Law enforcement nationwide have seized brightly colored fentanyl pills that resemble candy — some of these deadly drugs have been found in toy and candy boxes, officials say.
“Halloween can be scary, but nowhere near as scary as rainbow-colored fentanyl that looks like candy and can be lethal in minute doses," Moody at a news conference in Tampa on Tuesday. "Whether these drugs are being transported in candy boxes or mixed with other common drugs and sold to unsuspecting users, the threat posed to the safety of kids and young adults is very real."
Over the past month, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning about rainbow fentanyl after seizing 12,000 pills in popular Halloween candy packages at the Los Angeles airport, 15,000 pills in Nerds candy boxes and Skittles candy bags, as well as another 15,000 pills in Lego toy boxes.
In early October, the DEA said it identified a marketing scheme by Mexican cartels and street dealers who want the pills to "look like candy to children and young people."
At the time, the agency didn't mention Halloween threats, but fears about "rainbow" fentanyl and the holiday went viral. Also, drug policy experts contacted by NPR said there was no new fentanyl threat this Halloween and many were skeptical of the DEA's original warning.
Fentanyl is a highly lethal synthetic opioid and just 2 milligrams can be deadly. In the last few months, law enforcement seized nearly 85 pounds of fentanyl in Florida, enough to kill everyone in 66 of Florida’s 67 counties, officials say.
“While children are focused on what costume they’ll wear and what goodies they’ll pick up while trick-or-treating, I urge parents to make sure to focus on their safety this Halloween," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement, "The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone to walk in groups, never eat open or homemade treats, look both ways before crossing the street, and if you’re driving, please take extra caution to look out for those little ghosts or goblins.”
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