By Matt Kelley (Radio Iowa)
Iowans heard dire warnings last month about the possibility of rainbow fentanyl showing up in kids’ trick-or-treat bags, but Emily Murray, spokeswoman for the regional U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency office in Omaha, says they had no reports of the drug appearing anywhere in the five-state area.
“DEA agents have yet to see or seize rainbow fentanyl, I think that’s important to know,” Murray says. “We’re not naïve enough to think that it’s not out there but DEA agents have not seized it. State and locals were reaching out, working with them to kind of see what they’re seeing, but Halloween has come and gone and we have not seen the rainbow fentanyl.” Murray says the rainbow fentanyl comes in a wide array of colors and is the same, dangerous drug as regular fentanyl.
“The fake pills that you’re seeing that are blue and made to look like oxycodone or Xanax or Adderall, any of those prescription medications, now it’s just that they’re coming across in rainbow colors,” Murray says. “They might be targeting a younger audience with that, but it’s also a marketing ploy, too, when you’ve got something that looks a little bit different. It’s new. It’s exciting because it’s a bright color.” Iowans need to know, Murray says, that while fentanyl can be a killer, so can many other pharmaceuticals.
“The only prescription medication that they should be taking is the one that’s prescribed specifically for them,” she says. “We don’t want anyone to take a legitimate prescription medication that’s not coming from their doctor and filled at a pharmacy. Always be cautious. It’s the same messaging that we tell students or tell kids you know, don’t take something when you don’t know where it’s coming from.” A state report says 258 Iowans died of opioid overdoses last year. Murray says meth is still the number-one illegal drug being seized in the region.