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Colorful pills, dark reality: Rainbow fentanyl killing kids

Colorful pills, dark reality: Rainbow fentanyl killing kids
Colorful pills, dark reality: Rainbow fentanyl killing kids 02:16

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's a sobering statistic every parent needs to hear: our children are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car crash, according to the National Safety Council. 

A new version of the deadliest opioid is already in North Texas with a disturbing market: young children.

"Martin was adorable. Fun, funny, charming," Judie Heitzman said.

Heitzman of Dallas never shied away from a tough conversation with her son about drugs. But she never knew to talk to him about fentanyl until he died from it at age 23. 

"He had no idea that he was going to die that night. Had he known about fentanyl, I know my son, he would have been more careful," she said.

The newest version of the fake pills is called rainbow fentanyl, and they're disguised to look like candy - colorful, innocent, deadly.

Rainbow fentanyl can also come in powder and even blocks that look like sidewalk chalk. And just two milligrams of fentanyl - equal to 10 to 15 grains of table salt - can be lethal.   

Eduardo Chavez, special agent in charge with the DEA's Dallas Field Division, said rainbow fentanyl made its first appearance in North Texas just a few weeks ago. 

"There's an attraction for drug traffickers to maybe find different creative ways to attract new clients, and making it look like candy might be one of those ways," he said.

The DEA calls rainbow fentanyl an "alarming emerging trend" and a deliberate effort to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults. 

"There is no there is no room for experimentation with fentanyl. One pill can truly kill you," said Chavez. "That actually could be the last choice you make is the choice to try it."

Heitzman said if her son knew fentanyl was out there, he'd still be alive today.

"Now it's not experimental anymore. It's like you're playing Russian roulette. And I want to shout that to parents," she said.

Those seeking recovery help can find resources here.

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