Penn State Students Cautioned on Brightly Colored 'Rainbow' Fentanyl

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Following a recent press release from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Penn State students are cautioned on the presence and dangers of brightly colored fentanyl known as “rainbow fentanyl.”

Rainbow fentanyl is an emerging trend used by drug cartels to sell fentanyl — disguised as candy — to children and young people. Coming in the form of pills, powder and blocks resembling sidewalk chalk, rainbow fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.

Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other illicit drugs and made to look like prescription drugs.

“Unless a drug is prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a legitimate pharmacy, you can't know if it’s fake or legitimate,” said Linda LaSalle, director of Penn State Health Promotion and Wellness. 

According to the DEA press release, fentanyl is the “deadliest drug threat facing this country” because of its “highly addictive and potentially deadly” nature. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 66% of the 107,622 drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2021 were a result of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

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