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Big Island police warn public about rainbow fentanyl

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  • COURTESY HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT
                                Hawaii island police say rainbow fentanyl — colored pills that resemble candy — has recently arrived on the island. Pictured above are fentanyl pills from a recent drug bust.

    COURTESY HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT

    Hawaii island police say rainbow fentanyl — colored pills that resemble candy — has recently arrived on the island. Pictured above are fentanyl pills from a recent drug bust.

Hawaii island police are warning the public about the dangers of fentanyl, especially with the recent arrival of rainbow fentanyl on the island, particularly in West Hawaii.

It’s called rainbow fentanyl because it comes in colored pill form that resembles candy, police said in a news release today.

“As of the last few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in rainbow fentanyl in pill form,” Lt. Edwin Buyten of the Hawaii Police Department’s Area II Vice Section. said in the release.

“Rainbow fentanyl is brand new to us here on island,” Buyten said. “It’s a marketing tool for the drug trafficking organizations meant to lure in a younger clientele. That’s concerning due to the danger it places on our island keiki and our community as a while. With the Halloween season approaching, there’s an increased threat of children mistaking rainbow fentanyl for candy.”

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that comes in various forms that include power, capsule, solution, tablet or rock form. As little as two milligrams (about one grain of Hawaiian salt) of fentanyl can be fatal, police said.

To combat the threat, police have increased enforcement by partnering with federal law enforcement agencies to track down traffickers importing fentanyl and other drugs to the island.

Over the last year, the police department recovered approximately 15,000 fentanyl pills in West Hawaii alone, according to Buyten.

Hawaii island police recommend the public to be cautious of unknown or unlabeled powders, solutions or rocks as well as pills or capsules that resemble actual medications but their origin is not certain.

Police also urge the public to avoid touching any prescription medication or drugs that are of unknown origin. If the drug-related item seems suspicious, call police at 808-935-3311.

Anyone with information on suspected fentanyl trafficking is also asked to call police. Tips can also be made to the Area I Vice section in East Hawaii at 808-934-8423 or the Area II Vice Section at 808-329-0423.

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