Fentanyl, along with other illicit substances such as methamphetamine and cocaine, is added to counterfeit prescription drugs. Since these counterfeit pills are not made in a lab, the dosing is not precise. In a batch of counterfeit pills, one pill may contain a small dose of harmful additives, and others may contain 100% additives such as fentanyl.
Counterfeit pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media, making them easily available to anyone with a smartphone – including minors. Buying drugs through social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram has become increasingly popular among students. Dealers use these platforms to post photos of their products, with further communication happening on encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp.
Fentanyl seizures at the US-Mexico Border have reached an all-time high. Over 2,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized in July 2022 – which was three times higher than the amount seized in June, and up 200% from May. “Rainbow fentanyl,” pictured above, is particularly concerning to deputies due to its candy-like appearance. This rainbow coloring may be an attempt for drug cartels to target younger users.
You can learn more about the danger of illicit fentanyl through Facing Fentanyl, the DEA’s One Pill Can Kill campaign, or The Hub CT’s You Think You Know page. For more information on minors using social media to purchase drugs, read The Hub CT’s article “Kids Can Buy Drugs Easier Than You Think.”