Some of the commentary in this article can be considered as being opinion.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the United States is issuing a public warning about a dangerous new trend that involves colorful pills that are tainted with illegal fentanyl and are sold by “drug cartels.”
These pills are “made to look like candy to children and young people,” according to the DEA. Although various medications have a part in the crisis that has resulted in the deaths of 109,000 individuals in the 12 months from March 2022, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is the primary substance responsible for the overdose fatalities that are occurring in the United States.
“Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a press release.
Drug policy specialists, on the other hand, claim that such comments are intentionally deceptive and that rainbow-colored drugs are not being promoted to children in any way, shape, or form.
Numerous news organizations, including as The Hill, Seattle Times, USA Today, and High Times, among others, published articles that basically re-reported the DEA’s press release. These news organizations carried stories that repeated the DEA’s talking points with nothing in the way of proof or examination.
Salon notes that although it is true that colored fentanyl has been recovered by police on many occasions, this is neither a current trend nor evidence that youngsters are the targeted targets of the drug traffickers.
A pharmaceutical expert at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill named Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta referred to the recent hysteria around the marketing of fentanyl to children as “typical drug war bulls**t.” In the course of his profession, Dasgupta manages a drug checking service that use analytical chemistry in order to determine the components of illicit street narcotics.
Dasgupta receives samples from all throughout the nation, which he and his colleagues run through a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer. These samples are shipped to Dasgupta. The spectrometer can determine the precise chemical structure of the substance that is present in an individual’s medicines.
It is able to determine whether or not the MDMA that a person was sold truly includes methamphetamine, as well as whether or not the pills that were offered as prescribed painkillers are actually illegal fentanyl.
Dasgupta claims that the DEA is “late to the party” when it comes to the issue of colored fentanyl tablets. “We’ve been talking about colored dope for years. This is like completely nothing new,” Dasgupta told Salon.
But according to Dasgupta, the DEA’s narrative is flawed, saying that it “was so divorced from any reality of what drug markets are actually like, it was almost laughable that our country’s top drug enforcement folks are so out of touch with what’s happening on the ground.”
The announcement made by the DEA was referred to as “old recycled drug propaganda” by Claire Zagorski, a licensed paramedic, program coordinator and harm reduction instructor for the PhARM Program. This echoes the age-old absurd myth that Halloween candy might be laced with illegal substances.
“Why would someone give away their expensive drugs to some random person they don’t know, just so they might have a bad experience? It doesn’t make sense,” Zagorski told Salon. “At the end of the day, drug sellers are business people, and they’re not going to invest in some kind of change to their supply if they don’t think there’s some good return on it … Kids don’t have a lot of money that their parents don’t supervise or give to them. So it just doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint.”
The age-old absurd tropes of the drug war are getting recycled. Do they have anything new?
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