‘Death disguised as candy:’ Rainbow fentanyl found in Ohio

“Rainbow fentanyl” was identified among confiscated drugs for the first time by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The deadly colorful pills are designed to look like candy and are used by drug traffickers to drive addiction among young people, Attorney General Dave Yost announced Tuesday.

“Do not be fooled by appearances — rainbow fentanyl is death disguised as candy,” Yost said. “The bottom line is this: If you’re taking a pill that wasn’t prescribed by your doctor, you can’t be certain of what you are consuming.”

In a report issued Tuesday to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, BCI’s Drug Chemistry Laboratory said the 1,025 brightly colored pills recently seized by the sheriff’s office as part of a Columbus-area drug-trafficking investigation are rainbow fentanyl.

The pills seized originated in Mexico and were intercepted before they could be distributed, Yost said.

BCI previously has identified fentanyl in multiple forms, including colored powders and in combination with other drugs, in drugs seized during investigations. But this is the first time the BCI has identified rainbow fentanyl, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has warned is a deliberate effort by traffickers to mask deadly fentanyl in a form attractive to young Americans.

In 2022, BCI’s lab identified fentanyl in 9,151 items submitted by law enforcement, making up 22.1% of all drug analyses. So far in 2023, the lab has processed 2,306 items containing fentanyl.

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