'Rainbow fentanyl' now found in 21 states, including Texas

Brightly-colored, but potentially deadly, rainbow fentanyl has now been found in 21 states, including Texas, as of this week.

It's been seen in multiple forms, says the DEA, including pills, powder, and blocks resembling sidewalk chalk.

"Drug cartels are using social media and other platforms to flood our communities like Kyle with deadly fentanyl," said DEA assistant special agent in charge Tyson Hodges earlier this month after four Hays County teens died from suspected fentanyl overdoses this summer.

That was before rainbow fentanyl came on the radar.

"It's got new shiny packaging just in time for Halloween," says Peter Piraino, executive clinical director and CEO of Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree in Elgin.

Running a treatment center, Piraino has seen its power. "Real small amounts can kill like that," he said, snapping his fingers.


Cutting counterfeit drugs with fentanyl creates a stronger high at a cheaper cost for drug dealers.

"When there are mass overdoses on a certain product, lots of times people seek out that product because they know that it's strong and they want to get the most they can for their dollar," says Piraino.

However, many aren't seeking fentanyl; they want a cheap Xanax or Adderall, which these days can be like playing a game of Russian roulette.

"My parents used to talk to me about drunk driving. The conversations that I have with youth now are like, do y'all have, you know, do you have Narcan when you go to parties?," says Piraino. "Even if your kid is not using, they could save someone else's life."