Authorities warn of ‘rainbow fentanyl’: “It’s going to be in the area before we know it”

(ABC 6 News) – Law enforcement in Mankato recently discovered a new form of fentanyl at the scene of a shooting and are warning the public about the new look of the drug.

What was once little blue pills are now rainbow-colored, looking more like candy than the deadly drug it is.

Law enforcement says these new colored pills are extremely concerning and a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to target children and young adults.

“This stuff is happening everywhere and it’s very prevalent in Rochester,” said Tim Volz, a licensed professional clinical counselor at the Resilience Center in Rochester. “It’s a huge problem in Rochester and I don’t feel like it’s being addressed like the epidemic that it is.”

This nationwide epidemic is affecting everyone, no matter the demographic.

“There is no one specific age group of people that it’s crushing. It’s a wide range of people and a wide range of races,” said Capt. Mike Bromberg with the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crime and Enforcement Team.

Now that these deadly pills resemble candy, children are more at risk of overdosing on the deadly drug.

“It’s just as dangerous, just as deadly, as the little blue fentanyl pills that we generally see,” said Deputy Chief Darren Hanson, with the Albert Lea Police Department.

As a professional counselor, Volz said it is something he has heard of personally.

“I do know somebody that had a baby crawling around in his home and he had a pill laying on the ground and she ingested it. She had to be Narcan-ed back to life at the ER because it was a fentanyl pill,” Volz explained.

Law enforcement agrees that parents need to be on high alert and inform their kids about the difference between fentanyl and sweet candy.

“Little kids put a lot of things in their mouths, even my kids would probably eat something that looked like candy if they found it,” said Rachel Woratschka, who has two kids of her own.

Now discovered in Mankato, Law enforcement agencies say it is not a matter of if they are in your city, but when.

“It’s gonna be in the area before we know it,” said Deputy Chief Hanson.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Experts say, however, that the scariest part is that taking the drug is like playing Russian roulette.

“There’s no consistency in the manufacture of these illegal pills, so you don’t know the actual dosage of fentanyl you’re getting,” said Capt. Bromberg.

What did not kill you yesterday, could kill you tomorrow. Once someone starts taking the drug, quitting can be difficult.

“Addiction is a beast and a lot of people that have never experienced it do not understand it and they think you can just quit using this stuff and it is not that simple,” Capt. Bromberg explained.

According to Capt. Bromberg, there were 48 overdose deaths in 2021 in Olmsted County alone. He says this year, we are on track to see upwards of 55-77 overdose deaths.

Experts say education is key when it comes to fentanyl, so it is extremely important parents are informed, teaching their children the difference between sweet candy and a deadly drug.