ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Colorful pills being distributed by drug dealers may look like candy but are actually known as “rainbow fentanyl.”
It is a potentially deadly drug marketed to teenagers and children.
The police in our area try to stay one step ahead of them, but it’s getting harder and harder.
“We talk about this all the time in law enforcement. We are trying to fight a forest fire with a fire extinguisher. It’s really frustrating at times,” said Virginia State Police First Sergeant Joe Crowder.
Rainbow fentanyl is her latest venture, largely because it’s been made attractive to teens.
“If they can appeal to the younger communities, I call it an ongoing addiction. If you manage to get the younger communities hooked, you get a profit, says Crowder.
Counterfeit opioids have already infiltrated our area.
For teens who get pills like Xanax, Adderal, or oxycodone from a friend or on the street, the danger is real.
“Now if you get a pill off the street, you can almost bet it’s 99 percent sure it’s going to be fentanyl,” says Crowder.
Keeping kids off drugs is key.
According to Crowder, state police work with organizations like the Prevention Council of Roanoke County.
“We’re just concerned that parents are really paying attention to what these things are, what they look like,” says Nancy Hans, executive director of the Prevention Council.
Even for the most vigilant parent, Hans says, having their own phone makes kids more vulnerable to drug dealers.
When young people look for pills, they are as close as social media.
“There are so many kids and young adults, college kids, who say, ‘I just need something to ease my anxiety. I just need something, and they can easily get it through Snapchat,” says Hans.
“The dangerous thing now is that all these things are pressed with fentanyl. Some of the fentanyl analogs, other synthetics, Adderall, some of our stimulants are pressed with crystal methamphetamine,” says Crowder.
Trying to get pharmaceuticals to deal with anxiety and other issues is a major contributor to the problem, according to Hans.
She asks parents to pay attention to what is happening with their children and to ask for help if they need it.
“It’s quite normal when things are going on in your life that you think you need a pill to fix them when you really need a conversation,” says Hans.
Click here for more information on Rainbow Fentanyl.
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