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'Skittles' and 'rainbow' fentanyl pills found in North Idaho, ISP warns

It is still unknown if this multi-colored fentanyl is targeting teens, but Idaho State Police is warning parents to be aware of this drug.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Idaho State Police (ISP) is warning parents about new types of fentanyl pills that look like candy being used in North Idaho.

Over the weekend, the Coeur d'Alene Police seized about 50 multi-colored pills. Two new types of pills are called 'Skittles,' which resemble pieces of brightly colored candy, and 'rainbow,' which are fentanyl pills that are usually chalky or in powder form.

It is still unknown if this multi-colored fentanyl is targeting teens, but ISP is warning parents to be aware of this drug, as it is different than what officials have seen in past years. These fentanyl pills can be in many forms and colors including counterfeit pills, powder and chalk-like blocks.

Credit: Coeur d'Alene Police Department

"We want to make sure that the public is aware of this change, specifically parents. So that when they see these multicolored pills they are able to identify them as fentanyl," Idaho State Police Capt. John Kempf said.

Officials said there is no indication that the new form of fentanyl is more powerful. However, several overdoses, including fatal overdoses in children as young as 15 have been documented in the area.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths are the leading killer of Americans between 18 and 45 years old.

In 2021, more than 100,000 Americans and 353 people from Idaho died as a result of drug overdose. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, accounted for more than three-quarters of these deaths. 

Marsha Malsam lost her 26-year-old nephew, Rayce, to a fentanyl overdose in 2016. She described him as tender-hearted and someone who always put others before himself.

"Rayce passed away six years ago, so Fentanyl was just on the rise then. It's a shock, you didn't know about it, we haven't heard about it and we didn't know how to help Rayce when we did start having concerns," she said. "You don't want that happening to any family member."

Because of the severity of this threat, the Idaho State Police Fentanyl Education Project (IFEP) offers presentations about the dangers of fentanyl in the communities and they are encouraging parents and children to attend. 

"I urge all Idahoans to be on the lookout for fentanyl and respect its highly toxic nature. Fentanyl is commonly disguised in fake prescription pills," Kempf said. "If you find pills not dispersed by a licensed pharmacist, assume they are fake and potentially lethal."

The CDC suggests anyone who thinks someone is overdosing should call 911 immediately, administer naloxone if available and stay with the person until help arrives. If you encounter any version of fentanyl, call 911 immediately. In Washington and Idaho, anyone who calls for medical help during an overdose can't face drug possession charges under the state's Good Samaritan law.

If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, call the Lines for Life substance abuse helpline at 1-800-923-4357 or visit Lines for Life website for more information.

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