Fentanyl is not going to end up in your kid's Halloween basket

The panic around 'rainbow fentanyl' is bunk

You can absolutely set your watch — or your calendar, at least — to the annual scare stories about strangers giving drugs to your kids. Pumpkin patches and corn mazes always come with a side of fearmongering from the nation's police, warning that you should have the same fear of your neighbors that they do of the average Labrador Retriever.

This year's model is related to fentanyl, of course. The mysterious opioid that seems uniquely capable of knocking out police through telekinesis is apparently being pressed into colorful pills. Breathless news reports claim the reason for the bright hues of these fent pills are to make it look like candy, with the implication that they're coming after your children.

Never mind the longstanding practice of pressing colorful and recognizable club drugs. To hear police and their mouthpieces in the local news tell it, these pain-killing sweet tarts are heading straight to a plastic jack-o-lantern or pillowcase near you (more specifically, near your kids).

Even dressed up in the highly effective scare campaign around fentanyl, the story out of local outlets and the DEA stinks to high heaven. No one is giving perfectly good drugs away to children for free, especially not in a manner that could easily be traced back to their home. The logic that a drug dealer might be targeting famously cash-poor children with opioids they sell for money falls apart under the tiniest bit of scrutiny.

That won't stop the endless flow of panicked outcries from authorities who know better and journalists who should be more skeptical. We can all take a small bit of joy in the fact that some no-necked cop is definitely going to fall out after sneaking a bite of their kid's Smarties before the season's out.

The danger of fentanyl is not one that faces the general public. You can not overdose on fentanyl by being near it or even touching it. Fentanyl is a danger to people who already abuse opioids and other drugs, because it is a powerful opioid that can convincingly pass for other, more expensive drugs.

The danger of fentanyl comes from people unwittingly taking too much of it, because they thought they were doing another drug.  It can also cause problems with aware fentanyl users weren't careful with their dosages of a powerful opioid.

Neither of these are your children. And if they are, we'd encourage them to test their drugs for the presence of fentanyl and carry Narcan, something the DEA apparently forgot to include in their bulletin to the easily duped parents and press.


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