TULALIP — The Tulalip police chief rang the alarm Friday about new rainbow fentanyl pills discovered on the reservation that he believes were “manufactured to target young children.”
This week, investigators found an unknown number of pastel-colored pills on someone in the parking lot of Tulalip Resort Casino. The pills reportedly contain fentanyl, but were imprinted with an M30 to resemble oxycodone.
So far, this has been the only case of “rainbow fentanyl” in Tulalip.
Tulalip Police Chief Chris Sutter believes these colorful pills are part of a “deliberate effort” from drug trafficking organizations to attract younger users.
“With the discovery of these rainbow fentanyl pills in our community, we feel as if the community needs to be aware of the potential dangers of fentanyl and how these rainbow fentanyl pills are being manufactured to target young children,” a Tulalip police press release read.
Tulalip has seen five fentanyl-related overdoses this week. None have been confirmed to be connected to the rainbow pills, the police chief said.
Sutter warned parents to watch out for pills resembling candy, especially with Halloween coming up next month, as police are concerned children could come in contact with the synthetic opioid responsible for hundreds of fatal overdoses in Snohomish County.
Similar candy-tampering panics and urban legends have long-surrounded the holiday. Last year, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration also issued a warning about brightly colored fentanyl pills, claiming it’s a tactic to “drive up addiction amongst kids and young adults.”
Public health experts, however, find it is highly unlikely for black market drugs to end up in a child’s trick-or-treat bag.
The Tulalip Drug Task Force continued its investigation into the rainbow pills Friday.
Less-conspicuous blue fentanyl pills, pressed to look like prescribed opioids, have been a common cause of overdoses in Snohomish County as well.