In August 2022, drug enforcement authorities noted that pills containing the fentanyl were being manufactured in various colors. Called “rainbow fentanyl,” these pills and powders come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes. What are rainbow fentanyl pills and why are they such a threat to kids and young adults? It’s essential to comprehend the gravity of this issue and explore avenues for seeking help.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a frequently prescribed opioid painkiller 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Its remarkable strength makes it effective for managing the most severe forms of pain, such as breakthrough cancer pain and post-surgical pain. However, fentanyl’s strength also contributes to the unfortunate prevalence of fentanyl addiction.
As a member of the opioid family of medications, fentanyl functions by blocking pain receptors in the brain while simultaneously increasing the production of dopamine. Dopamine, a crucial brain chemical, plays a pivotal role in regulating the learning and reward system. It also significantly influences our capacity to manage pain, experience happiness, and derive pleasure from various activities.
The unparalleled potency of fentanyl, coupled with its euphoric effects, sets the stage for addiction potential. Regrettably, this increased addictive nature has propelled fentanyl to the forefront of the opioid crisis, establishing it as the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States.
Street names associated with fentanyl further highlight its presence in illicit drug use:
- China white
- China girl
- Dance fever
These aliases contribute to the underground circulation of the drug, reflecting its popularity and widespread misuse. It’s essential to recognize and understand the dangers associated with fentanyl, both in its prescribed medical use and its illicit presence in the realm of substance abuse. Increased awareness, education, and access to support are crucial components of addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by fentanyl addiction.
Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country. According to the CDC, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Drug poisonings are the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. Fentanyl available in the United States is primarily supplied by two criminal drug networks, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
Fentanyl has been implicated in overdose deaths because it is commonly used to lace other drugs, like heroin. Frequently, people do not even know that fentanyl is in the drug they are taking. This results in many unintentional overdoses.
Campus Drug Prevention, an initiative by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), says that fentanyl-laced cocaine is a particular concern across college campuses today. If you use any illicit drug, there is the possibility that it is laced with fentanyl.
Popular Name Brands and Routes of Administration of Fentanyl
What does prescription fentanyl look like and how is it taken?
- Actiq: Known as fentanyl lollipop, this is administered under the tongue for quick pain relief. It’s used for patients who are already taking painkiller medication.
- Duragesic: Designed in the form of a skin patch, this type of fentanyl is prescribed to treat severe to moderate pain, with the effects lasting as long as three days.
- Sublimaze: Hospitals administer this form of heroin through an IV injection to manage pain before and after surgery.
- Subsys: This sublingual spray is administered under an individual’s tongue to deliver pain relief immediately for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain.
- Abstral: Primarily used for opioid-tolerant patients who experience breakthrough cancer pain, this comes in tablet form that dissolves quickly by being placed under the tongue.
- Lazanda: This fentanyl nasal spray gets into a person’s system quickly.
Illicit fentanyl sold on the street is usually found in pill or tablet form. Illegal fentanyl may sometimes be sold in brightly colored pills called “rainbow fentanyl.” In fact, you may have seen Google searches including terms like, “rainbow fentanyl Arizona,” “rainbow fentanyl Tennessee,” or “rainbow fentanyl Connecticut,” because of its prevalence in these areas.
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What Is Rainbow Fentanyl?
Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults, according to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. The DEA has issued warnings about these pills, emphasizing the need for heightened awareness. The question arises: Why the vibrant colors? The intention is sinister — to make these deadly drugs resemble candy or other innocent items, posing a significant risk, especially during events like Halloween. Every October, officials warn the public about the rainbow fentanyl Halloween candy connection.
The dangers of rainbow fentanyl lie in its potent opioid nature, but also in its deceptive appearance. Young people, in particular, are at risk of unknowingly consuming these pills, leading to life-threatening consequences. The appeal of brightly colored pills masks the true peril they pose, making education and awareness crucial in combating this dangerous trend.
Why Is Fentanyl Dangerous?
The dangers of fentanyl, including rainbow fentanyl, are complex. Both short-term and long-term abuse of this potent opioid can result in severe adverse effects.
Short-term effects include respiratory depression, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, and sedation. However, the line between the short-term and long-term effects is often blurred, as prolonged abuse can lead to tolerance and dependence.
Long-term abuse of fentanyl can have devastating consequences, including:
- Cognitive impairments
- Weakened immune function
- Respiratory failure
- Increased risk of overdose.
Fentanyl abuse poses a substantial risk of overdose due to its potency. Even a small miscalculation in dosage can have fatal results. Understanding these risks is essential in addressing the fentanyl crisis and promoting awareness.
Finding Fentanyl Treatment
Recognizing the need for intervention is the first step toward overcoming fentanyl addiction. Seeking treatment at a licensed fentanyl recovery clinic is crucial for a safe and supportive recovery journey. The process typically involves a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s medical history, substance use, and relevant factors.
Finding a reputable fentanyl recovery clinic involves considering a range of factors. Accreditation, experienced staff, personalized treatment plans, and a focus on holistic recovery are key indicators of a quality treatment center. The journey to recovery begins with acknowledging the need for help and taking the courageous step towards finding the right treatment facility.
Fentanyl Treatment at Aliya Health Group
Aliya Health Group stands at the forefront of comprehensive fentanyl addiction treatment, offering a range of options to meet the diverse needs of individuals on their recovery journey. Our treatment process is designed to address the physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of addiction.
Inpatient treatment provides a structured and supportive environment for those requiring intensive care. Outpatient programs offer flexibility for individuals with a strong support system, allowing them to attend therapy sessions while maintaining their daily responsibilities. Aftercare services are a crucial component, ensuring continued support and guidance in the post-treatment phase.
Aliya Health Group understands that recovery is a unique and ongoing process. Therefore, treatment plans are tailored to the individual, incorporating evidence-based therapeutic interventions, counseling, and support groups. The goal is to equip individuals with the tools and skills necessary to maintain sobriety and build a life free from the grips of fentanyl addiction.
Understanding what Rainbow Fentanyl is, why it poses a threat, and the potential dangers associated with fentanyl abuse is critical for individuals, families, and communities. Seeking treatment at reputable centers like Aliya Health Group offers a lifeline to those grappling with fentanyl addiction, providing a path towards recovery, healing, and a brighter future.