EXCLUSIVE: With Halloween approaching, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is sounding the alarm that the threat of rainbow fentanyl, that can look like candy, is “very real” — and is urging parents to have important conversations with their children on the subject.
Law enforcement, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), have been warning for months about the dangers posed by “rainbow fentanyl” as smugglers and drug cartels look to sell the potent and deadly drug to children and young adults by making it look like candy in brightly colored forms. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and just 2 mg is considered a lethal dose.
Moody, who has been leading the push for more nationwide action combating fentanyl, is urging parents to take precautions as Halloween approaches, making sure the word spreads about the dangers fentanyl may pose.
Precautions include throwing away tampered or already-opened candy, making sure children remain in eyesight of parents or accompanying adults and teaching kids to call 911 in an emergency.
Separately, Moody is urging parents to have age-appropriate conversations with their kids and young adults (who may attend parties in the coming days) about drug use, including understanding the rules and consequences of drug use, knowing the dangers of addictions and keeping communication open.
“Halloween can be scary, but nowhere near as scary as rainbow-colored fentanyl that looks like candy and can be lethal in minute doses,” Moody said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“Whether these drugs are being transported in candy boxes or mixed with other common drugs and sold to unsuspecting users, the threat posed to the safety of kids and young adults is very real,” she said. “Just one pill laced with fentanyl can kill, so parents please talk to your children about the dangers posed by this extremely-lethal drug.”
While some experts have cast doubt on whether drug sellers would likely give away fentanyl to kids for free, the DEA has made it clear that it believes rainbow fentanyl is being used to make the drug – linked to tens of thousands of deaths last year – more attractive to children.
“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,” DEA administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement in August. “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.”
Authorities at Los Angeles Airport last week seized approximately 12,000 suspected fentanyl pills that were found disguised in several popular Halloween candy brands. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said authorities found the dangerous opioid inside boxes of SweeTARTS, Skittles and Whoppers.
“With Halloween approaching, parents need to make sure they are checking their kids candy and not allowing them to eat anything until it has been inspected by them,” the sheriff’s department said. “If you find anything in candy boxes that you believe might be narcotics, do not touch it and immediately notify your local law enforcement agency.”
Meanwhile, two Maryland men were charged in September with trafficking thousands of fentanyl pills – investigators had found pills stuffed into Nerds candy boxes and Skittles candy bags.
Lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have expressed concern about the dangers of rainbow fentanyl more broadly.
“Simply put, it is not candy,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last month, according to CBS. “They don’t tell the kids it’s candy, but they say, ‘Oh, this will give you a great high,’ and it looks innocent, so the kids are far more likely to take it.”
Separately, a coalition of Republican senators recently released a public service announcement warning about rainbow fentanyl with Halloween approaching.
“The powerful drug cartels are coming after your kids, your neighbors, your students, your family members, and your friends. No one is spared as fake pills laced with fentanyl are beginning to look like candy in an effort to lure young Americans,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in the video.
Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf and Julia Musto contributed to this report.