DEA: Drug traffickers using brightly-colored fentanyl to target youth

Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized brightly-colored fentanyl and brightly-colored fentanyl pills in 18 states.

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — The Drug Enforcement Administration has warned that in recent months, fentanyl has been packaged as rainbow pills because drug traffickers are trying to target young people and children nationwide.

On Tuesday, Gundersen Health Emergency Medical Physician Dr. Chris Eberlein suggested that it’s only a matter of time before the trend of multi-colored pills is seen in La Crosse.

“It won’t be long before it’s here,” Eberlein said. “We have seen other other pill forms of fentanyl in our area,” he continued.

Eberlein also said there’s been more instances of fentanyl being laced with other substances such as methamphetamines and even marijuana because it’s easily transferable.

“Easily packaged in a variety of other pill forms, different colors, they’re mixing it with other substances now,” he said.

On Tuesday, Eberlein stressed the importance of those with substance use disorders having access to fentanyl test strips to test a substance before use.

“The fentanyl test strips are available, widely available,” Eberlein continued.

When asked about ways to prevent kids and young people from developing substance use disorders, Eberlein said more education could help. He said addiction often starts young.

“This has to be a conversation about the age-appropriate risk and age-appropriate education on addiction and the danger of these drugs,” Eberlein said.

There have been 32 suspected drug overdose deaths in La Crosse County so far this year, according to the La Crosse County Medical Examiner’s Office. These deaths remain under investigation.

23 drug overdose deaths have been confirmed in La Crosse County so far this year, according to the medical examiner’s office.