WASHINGTON, DC. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning parents of an alarming trend of colorful fentanyl that has been popping up across the United States.

In August, officials said that DEA agents and law enforcement officers across the country had found brightly colored fentanyl, dubbed rainbow fentanyl, in 18 states, including California in the Bay Area.

Investigators believe the colorful fentanyl is a new method being used by drug cartels to get children and young adults hooked on the drug, which is highly addictive and potentially deadly.

Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Authorities said just two milligrams of the synthetic opioid is enough to be a lethal dose. 

The brightly colored version of the drug has been found in several forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk.

“The men and women of the DEA are relentlessly working to stop the trafficking of rainbow fentanyl and defeat the Mexican drug cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of the fentanyl that is being trafficked in the United States.

While there have been no reports of the colorful drug in Fresno County, officials said the number of fentanyl pills seized in the county has skyrocketed.

Officials with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said more than 600,000 fentanyl pills over the last four years.

As of August 31, authorities in Fresno County seized nearly 400,000 pills in 2022.

According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66% of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. 

If you find fentanyl in any form, do not touch it, and call 911 immediately.