Halloween has been celebrated for thousands of years, dating back to the festival of Samhain and is always a highlight for families with small children just a few months after school starts. Most people in the US celebrate the holiday by dressing in costumes, decorating their homes with spooky décor, and going trick or treating in the neighborhood with their kids.
While families who go trick or treating expect to get some fun treats in their buckets or bags like candy bars, lollipops, and other sweets, it’s important that parents inspect all items and determine they are safe to eat before their kids indulge. This year, one scary thing to be aware of is a dangerous drug on the street, fentanyl. Recently, this drug has made headlines as drug cartels use rainbow-colored fentanyl that looks identical to small candies to attract children.
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Like morphine, fentanyl is a drug that typically is used to treat patients who have severe pain, especially after a surgical procedure. Since this is an extremely powerful drug that is intended to be prescribed by a doctor to patients who are in serious pain, as little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of table salt, can kill someone.
While fentanyl is a prescription drug, it is also illegally made and highly trafficked nationwide. Recently drug cartels began distributing the lethal opioid in rainbow-colored pills. Since August 2022, the DEA and their law enforcement partners have seized brightly colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 26 states, making it an alarming emerging trend available across the United States. The rainbow fentanyl looks like candy and is therefore attracting a younger audience with a dangerous and terrifying target on children.
The DEA’s warning
Brightly colored fentanyl is being seized in multiple forms, including pills, powder, and blocks that resemble sidewalk chalk. Despite claims that certain colors may be more potent than others, there is no indication through the DEA’s laboratory testing that this is the case. Every color, shape, and size of fentanyl should be considered extremely dangerous since without laboratory testing, there is no way to know how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder.
If you encounter fentanyl in any form, the DEA advises that you should not handle it and instead call 911 immediately.
Best practices this Halloween
This Halloween (and all Halloweens to come) it’s important to follow a few key safety tips, especially when it comes to candy. The FDA has some recommended best practices for enjoying safe treats at Halloween including avoid eating candy until it has been inspected at home, check the label of any candy you aren’t familiar with, and inspect commercially wrapped treats for any signs of tampering. When in doubt, throw away anything that may look suspicious to you.
Biohazard cleaning companies can help if you need them
Unfortunately, drug overdoses can be fatal and more than 930,000 people have died in the United States from a drug overdose in the last two decades with as many as 91,799 deaths in 2020 alone. Awareness is critical to helping put an end to drug overdoses but unfortunately fatal accidents can happen.
If you or someone you know had someone pass away at home, it’s important that you focus on taking care of yourself and your family rather than cleaning your house. That’s why biohazard companies like Xtreme Cleaners exist and are here to help. Our experts are caring and compassionate while they clean, decontaminate, remove, and properly dispose of any potentially infectious materials. Our primary goal is to return the scene back to its original condition so you gain peace of mind you can safely return. If you are in Louisiana and are in need of biohazard cleaning services, give us a call at 800-524-9591 for help today.