DEA warns parents about ‘Rainbow fentanyl’ as officials seized 10M fake pills nationwide

About 129 cases used social media, emojis to traffic drugs

The DEA announced the results of phase three of its “One Pill Can Kill” campaign during a news conference Wednesday in Detroit.

DETROIT – The DEA is warning parents about drugs like “Rainbow fentanyl,” which has been trending nationwide.

During a news conference Wednesday in Detroit, the DEA announced the phase three results of its “One Pill Can Kill” campaign.

“Over that four-month period, we seized approximately 10 million fake pills and almost a thousand pounds of powdered fentanyl nationwide,” Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division Orville Greene said.

During the news conference, Greene discussed cartels’ tactics to target youth.

He said during phase three of the enforcement campaign. There were 129 cases where the traffickers used social media to distribute drugs. Emojis are a common way to communicate about drugs on social media.

Below are decoded emoji sentences that are commonly used to discuss prescription drugs.

“It’s a marketing ploy. Where are the folks you’re trying to reach? Where is your demographic?" Greene said. “You’re looking at a younger demographic."

“Rainbow fentanyl,” referring to brightly colored pills or powders is another example.

Greene said the DEA seized rainbow fentanyl in Southeast Michigan a few months ago. Due to the ongoing investigation, he couldn’t disclose any additional information, including the city where the drugs were seized.

DEA warns parents about Rainbow fentanyl as officials seized 10M fake pills nationwide over 4 months

The DEA encourages parents to have conversations about the dangers of pills at an early age. Greene gave his own example of how he approached the topic with his six-year-old daughter.

“She wanted to know why (I was on the news), and I had a conversation with her about rainbow fentanyl, as in-depth as you can get with a six-year-old, and I told her it’s not good, it’s bad.”

Below is a fact sheet from the DEA about fake fentanyl pills.

About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.