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Canyon County, Idaho, Sheriff Kieran Donahue warned Wednesday that rainbow-colored fentanyl, targeted specifically to young children, was pouring into his community from the southern border. Donahue said that the influx of drugs is “the tip of the iceberg” because authorities at the border do not have the resources or the manpower to contend with the border crisis.
“It is the tip of the iceberg,” Donahue said during an appearance on “Fox and Friends First” Wednesday. “We do not have the resources — throughout the United States, and specifically on the border — to stop and interdict the sheer amounts that are coming across that border, of fentanyl, and other drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. But the fentanyl is really the worst drug that we have seen on the streets. It’s unimaginable. None of us ever thought we’d be in this predicament, and its simply something that’s getting by us day in and day out, and we are simply not catching the vast majority of this stuff. Customs and Border Protection are doing a great job on the border, but they are so undermanned, when you look at the sheer amounts that the cartels are moving across and all the ways that they are moving them. We are truly under siege with this drug, and it’s an incredibly terrifying drug.”
Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public service announcement containing a similar warning about the “emerging trend” of rainbow-colored fentanyl across the U.S.
“[T]his trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people,” DEA said. The announcement came days after authorities seized more than 15,000 brightly-colored fentanyl pills at the port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. Nogales port director Michael W. Humphries said it was the second consecutive day that rainbow fentanyl had been found.
Idaho is just one of a growing number of states that are seeing the dangerous drug in their communities. Around the same time as the rainbow fentanyl pills were seized in Arizona, the Multnomah County, Oregon, sheriff’s office discovered several grams of the drug in the form of sidewalk chalk. In neighboring Montana, the state seized 58 times more fentanyl in the first half of 2022 than it seized in the entire year 2019.
Fentanyl overdoses surged by 1,100% from 2017 to 2021, from four to 49; opioid-related emergency responses shot up 57% since 2021; and already this year, 34 Montanans were killed by fentanyl overdoses.
“It’s absolutely sickening,” Donahue continued. “[Rainow fentanyl pills] are on our radar. … They are pointed toward the children with these rainbow colors, we call them Skittles. Kids younger than teenagers, to teenagers, to young adults are using these, and of course little children thinking that they may be candy, like Sweet Tarts or Skittles. They could eat these, and they’re simply going to die from ingesting these pills.”
“This is focused for those children,” he added. “There’s no other way to explain it, why would you make these drugs in rainbow colors with no other reason than to attract a younger consumer group to make them addicts for life or unfortunately kill them in the process.”