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Arizona Opioid Assistance and Referral Line warns of alarming new “rainbow fentanyl” trend

Highly addictive opioid drug now being marketed to target younger population

PHOENIX (Sept. 6, 2022) – The Arizona Poison and Drug Information System, which manages the Arizona OAR Line, is warning Arizona residents and healthcare providers, particularly adolescents and their parents, about an alarming new trend of brightly-colored fentanyl tablets that appear to be marketed towards younger, inexperienced individuals.

In August, the Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement partners seized brightly-colored fentanyl pills in 18 states, including Arizona. The “rainbow fentanyl” pills seem to be marketed in an effort to appeal to younger, inexperienced individuals.

According to the DEA, this new appearance of fentanyl may come in the form of pills, powder, and blocks resembling sidewalk chalk in a variety of different colors. While the colors of the pills don’t necessarily indicate any difference in potency, fentanyl remains a highly addictive and potent opioid — it is the leading cause of drug-related deaths in the U.S. and resulted in approximately 71,000 deaths in 2021. Drug overdoses also remain the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.

“From a health care perspective, we continue to see firsthand how fentanyl disrupts our communities and ruins lives,” said Bryan Kuhn, PharmD, Poison Education Specialist. “This new trend of the drug being made to look like candy only further increases the potential for it to damage the lives of people and their families.”

All Arizona residents, caregivers, and healthcare providers can call the Opioid Assistance and Referral (OAR) Line with any opioid-related questions or issues at 888-688-4222. This line is operated by the Poison and Drug Information Centers in Phoenix and Tucson and can assist callers with understanding and assessing the signs and symptoms of fentanyl or opioid toxicity and provide instruction on obtaining, storing, and using naloxone to reverse the toxic effects of these drugs.

About the Arizona Poison and Drug Information System
The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center in Phoenix and the Poison and Drug Information Center at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson provide free and confidential poison and drug information to the public and health care professionals. The hotlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two centers serve all of Arizona and are part of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call (800) 222-1222 from any location to reach the nearest poison center.

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Banner Health Poison

For further information contact us at: [email protected]