Due to an increase in the quantity of the very fatal narcotic fentanyl that has entered the United States, medical professionals are warning parents to exercise additional caution this Halloween. According to Travis Henson, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Dignity Health St. Bernardine Medical Center, who spoke with us, “Yes, parents should be concerned about fentanyl this year.” A significant amount of fentanyl has been brought into the United States from Mexico in recent years. It is being added to narcotics, and there have been cases where adults who were not aware of the addition have overdosed on this medication after consuming their usual illegal drugs that have been laced with it. It is also possible for fentanyl to be laced into candies or added to candies that appear exactly like the confectionery that children often consume. They have a pleasant flavor, and there is no way to tell whether or not they have been poisoned.
In addition, Henson discloses that emergency rooms are observing a rise in the number of cases involving fentanyl. “Drug dealers are lacing drugs with it, and naïve folks are taking in fentanyl when they had no clue they were getting fentanyl along with their regular drug,” the article states. In most cases, these patients are discovered unconscious and taken to the emergency room. We have to maintain a high index of suspicion, but in many cases, we will administer Narcan, which is the antidote, in the hopes that it may wake the person up. Because fentanyl is so potent, it is not uncommon for a person to require two or even three doses of Narcan before they can be brought back to life. We have witnessed people passing away as a result of this, particularly if they are unable to get medical personnel promptly.
Less than two months after the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public warning, “of an alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl available across the United States,” authorities seized thousands of fentanyl pills at Los Angeles airport from someone going through security around 7:30 in the morning, according to a statement released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The seizure was made possible by the fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration issued the warning. Approximately 12,000 suspected fentanyl tablets were seized by detectives from the LA County Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who were working on a task force at the Los Angeles International Airport.
According to the statement, “The suspect attempted to go through TSA screening with multiple bags of sweets and various munchies to board a plane.” This information is based on the fact that the suspect tried to board a plane. On the other hand, it turned out that the candy boxes including “Sweetarts,” “Skittles,” and “Whoppers” contained fentanyl pills rather than actual candy. The culprit managed to evade capture by law enforcement officers but has since been recognized, and the investigation into the crime is still ongoing.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued the following warning as children prepared to participate in trick-or-treating: “Since August 2022, DEA and its law enforcement partners have confiscated brightly colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills in 26 states.” This practice, which the media has dubbed “rainbow fentanyl,” appears to be a new approach that drug gangs are using to market extremely addictive and potentially lethal fentanyl designed to look like sweets to children and young adults… According to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Anne Milgram, “Rainbow fentanyl” refers to fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes. This is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction among children and young adults. Continue reading, and make sure you don’t miss any of these sure signs that you’ve already had COVID to protect not only your health but also the health of others.
According to Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT, a Medical Toxicologist and Co-Medical Director at the National Capital Poison Center, “Fentanyl is a potent opioid analgesic that was developed in the 1960s and was initially marketed as an intravenous anesthetic agent.” Fentanyl was initially marketed as an intravenous anesthetic agent. Since that time, fentanyl has been utilized for the treatment of severe pain in the United States, most frequently within the context of hospital settings. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is a synthetic opioid analgesic, which means that it must be made in a laboratory environment. This is in contrast to other opioid analgesic medications, which are obtained from the opium poppy plant. Throughout its history, the production of fentanyl for medical use has traditionally taken place in the regulated and scientific laboratories of pharmaceutical corporations.
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States conducts thorough research on and regulations on these different fentanyl formulations (FDA). In contrast, illicit and non-pharmaceutical forms of fentanyl have been distributed throughout the United States in recent years. The FDA does not exercise any oversight over these illegal fentanyl preparations. They are produced in underground facilities, brought into the United States illegally, and then distributed as pills or powders for sale. Fentanyl that is obtained illegally might be marketed on its alone or mixed up with other types of recreational drugs. At this time, the majority of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths that occur in the United States are the result of exposure to illicit fentanyl.
“People should be aware that fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent,” explains Ricardo Whyte, MD, Addiction Psychiatrist Section Chief of Psychiatry with Dignity Health St. Bernardine Medical Center and author of Killing Burnout. “Fentanyl is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” It is a controlled substance that can be obtained legally but is also manufactured and used illegally. Patients who suffer from chronic pain and have reached a point where they are physically unable to derive any benefit from other opioids due to a phenomenon known as tolerance can be helped by this medication. Patients whose pain is severe enough to require surgery may also be candidates for this treatment. Tolerance is a phenomenon in which a person requires greater and/or more frequent doses of a substance to receive the same desired effect that a smaller dose originally gave. In other words, they need more of the drug to get the same benefit they were getting from the lower dose. In addition, individuals ought to be aware that fentanyl can be administered in the form of an intramuscular shot, a patch that can be applied to a person’s skin, or as a lozenge that can be sucked on like a cough drop.
Dr. Henson explains, “Fentanyl is a medication used in hospitals safely. When it is used appropriately, the medicine is not harmful. The fact that fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine is part of what makes it such a potentially lethal substance. In the United States, it is a significant factor in the development of both fatal and nonfatal overdoses. Even at very low doses, this substance can cause fatal overdoses.”
According to Dr. Johnson-Arbor, “Fentanyl is a substance that possesses a high level of activity. It has a potency that is roughly one hundred times higher than that of morphine. All opioids include the risk of producing the adverse effect known as respiratory depression, which describes a sluggish or labored breathing pattern. Because the brain, heart, and other organs do not receive appropriate amounts of oxygen when breathing becomes shallow or ceases altogether, the lack of oxygen ultimately results in the failure of organs and ultimately death. Small amounts of fentanyl can cause patients to experience life-threatening respiratory depression if it is ingested, inhaled, or administered intravenously. This is due to the potency of the medication. In humans, even a very small amount of fentanyl—just 2 milligrams—is sufficient to cause severe respiratory depression and even death.”
Dr. Whyte informs us that “According to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the CDC, there were an estimated 107,622 deaths caused by drug overdoses in the United States in 2021. This represents an increase of nearly 15% from the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses in 2020. In particular, the new figures suggest that the number of deaths caused by opioid overdoses will rise from a projected 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021, with fentanyl being a significant contributor to this increase. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which means that it can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. This is one of the risks that makes it such a troublesome substance. In other words, even minute amounts of fentanyl have the potential to be fatal, as is the case with overdosing on it. In addition to this, the production cost is significantly lower than that of its competitors. This has led to it being mixed with other illegal drugs to improve the strength of both of those substances, which has contributed to the large rise in the number of fatal overdoses. When someone takes an excessive amount of fentanyl, the drug can cause their breathing to become abnormally slow or even stop entirely. This results in a decreased delivery of oxygen to the brain, leading to a condition known as hypoxia. If oxygen is denied to the brain for an extended period, the consequences can include coma, permanent brain damage, and even death.”
According to Dr. Henson, “Kids are an inviting and simple target. They enjoy sweets, and due to their diminutive size, even minute doses of fentanyl can have a significant impact on them. If you wanted to cause someone pain, one of the easiest ways to do so would be to cause pain to that person’s children. A terrorist act would be committed by adulterating children’s confectionery with fentanyl.”
Dr. Whyte continues, “In principle, the pharmaceutical industry makes an effort to hook young people on medications at an early age, with the expectation that this will result in increased profits over the long term. However, when it comes to the potential threats posed by tainted Halloween sweets, this sounds very similar to falsehoods that were spread in previous years about razor blades being hidden in candy or poisonous treats. It would appear that in conjunction with the frights of Halloween, each year brings with it a story of nefarious offenders that pose a threat to our children. Nevertheless, as parents, we must keep our children’s well-being at the forefront of our minds at all times.”
Apparently, in the words of Dr. Johnson-Arbor, “When someone overdoses on fentanyl or another opioid, they may appear to be sleeping, but their respiratory rate may be dangerously low. When this occurs, oxygen cannot effectively enter the body, and organs become deprived of oxygen. If fentanyl overdose is not treated promptly, permanent brain damage or death can occur.
Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a fentanyl antidote that can rapidly reverse the respiratory depression that occurs after a fentanyl overdose. Naloxone is available as a nasal spray that is simple to use by bystanders and first responders. It does not require specialized training to administer, and it is available without a prescription in every state. People who receive naloxone still need medical observation due to the potential for recurrence.”
Dr. Henson states, “It is important for parents to be aware of the origin of the candy. Candy should never be accepted by strangers by children, no matter how tempting it may seem. Each piece of candy must be contained within its initial packaging from the manufacturer. It is forbidden to consume any bulk candy that has been opened. When I went trick-or-treating, I chose neighborhoods where the neighbors were familiar to me and the candy was still sealed in its packaging and unopened. The practice of “trunk or treating,” in which youngsters walk from car to car with individuals they already know to receive candy from the “trunk” of a car, is becoming increasingly popular as a substitute for traditional Halloween gatherings.”
As explained by Dr. Johnson-Arbor, “Brightly colored fentanyl pills, also known as “rainbow fentanyl,” were found in the United States in the year 2022 and were subsequently confiscated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has discovered and taken possession of fentanyl pills that were concealed within candy boxes and bags bearing the names “Nerds,” “Skittles,” and “Sweet Tarts.” These incidents have occurred all over the United States, from California to Connecticut. At this point, there is no indication that rainbow fentanyl is being explicitly marketed to children as candy, and it is certainly plausible that the candy boxes are instead being utilized to conceal the drugs from the DEA and other authorities.  Nevertheless, these reports raise some serious concerns, particularly given that Halloween is right around the corner and a good number of us will either be handing out or eating candy. This Halloween only gives out and eats candy that has already been pre-packaged to reduce the risk of unintended fentanyl exposure for children and adults alike. You should steer clear of eating Halloween goodies that you created yourself, and you should also get rid of any candy that wasn’t professionally wrapped and put it in its original container. In addition, under no circumstances should you take any medicines that have not been specifically recommended for you by a qualified medical practitioner.”
According to Dr. Whyte, “Parents should be cognizant of tactics that allow their children to have fun in a safe environment rather than taking away yet another opportunity for their children to simply be children.
The following are some things that parents can do every year (not just this one) to ensure that their children have a safe time trick-or-treating on Halloween:
1) If you want to Trick or Treat, you should do it in your area or in one where you already know most of the neighbors. Your children have a far lower risk of receiving something harmful in their trick-or-treat bags if you live in a community where the neighbors know and interact with one another. In addition to this, it is more probable that you will be aware of whether or not particular houses ought to be avoided. For instance, homes with a high turnover rate of inhabitants, homes with residents who have a history of substance or alcohol misuse, and residences that are known to contain convicted criminals are all examples of problematic housing situations (you can search your neighborhood on www.Meganslaw.ca.gov).
2) Remain present with your children and always make sure they are within your line of sight. To guarantee the well-being of one’s offspring while they engage in the Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating,” it is best practice to accompany them. Tell your children that they should never enter the home of someone who gives them candy and that they should always remain on the porch. Tell your youngster to avoid going home if they come across anything that seems out of the ordinary.
3) If your children will be out trick-or-treating with their friends, you should make an effort to become acquainted with the parents of those youngsters. Your child should never go anywhere with an adult that you are unfamiliar with.
4) Before your youngster eats any candy, check the candy bag they have with them. Toss out any things that have been opened, torn, or appear to have a questionable origin.
5) Be sure to use proper manners during trick-or-treating.
– Pay attention to the on/off rule for the lights. Don’t bother the people who are in their houses, especially if the lights are off.
– If the light is on, ring the doorbell or knock on the door, then calmly wait for a response. Proceed to the next house if you do not receive an answer from the first one.
Accept what is presented, and show gratitude to the person who gave it to you.
— Stay on the sidewalks and in the walkways; do not go on the grass or through the gardens.
–Respect the closing time that has been specified. The lights in most homes are turned off between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m., particularly if Halloween comes on a school night.”
Dr. Henson states, “Any candy, and especially any confectionery that has been unwrapped, carries the risk of containing fentanyl. A lot of the time, the candies will have vivid colors, and to give the impression that they are legitimate, they will be packaged in wrappers and bags. In addition to this, fentanyl has been discovered in ordinary candies like skittles and whoppers, to mention a few examples. The bottom conclusion is that you should never take candy from someone you do not know.”
Dr. Johnson-Arbor has some information to share with us, “The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been successful in seizing illegal fentanyl pills that were concealed within candy boxes; however, it is highly unlikely that drug cartels will hand out free fentanyl pills disguised as candy for Halloween this year. Giving away free fentanyl is a money-losing effort, which is ironic considering that supplying drugs is a business. Instead, it is more possible that people would accidentally overdose on fentanyl which is present as a contaminant of other street narcotics. This is because fentanyl is more potent than other drugs on the street (like cocaine or heroin). Fentanyl does not have a distinct physical look; hence, there is no straightforward method for individuals to determine whether or not a substance purchased on the street contains fentanyl. Fentanyl can be packaged in the form of pills or powders, or it may have a visually appealing appearance and be vividly colored (for example, “rainbow fentanyl”). Do not take any tablets or pharmaceuticals that have not been prescribed to you, even if they appear to be professionally prepared or mimic common prescription medications (such as Percocet or oxycodone). This will help you avoid coming into contact with fentanyl.”
Dr. Whyte continues, “The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has recently expressed worry with “rainbow fentanyl.” This term describes fentanyl pills and powders that are available in a wide variety of vivid colors, forms, and sizes. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), this is part of an organized attempt by drug traffickers to promote substance abuse among children and young adults. As a result, SweeTarts, Nerds, and Skittles are all examples of candy that might have a similar appearance. There have also been allegations of fentanyl pills being discovered at several airports wrapped in containers that were originally intended for confectionery. Even though the pills were attempted to be smuggled in candy containers, it is quite unlikely that these identical packages were intended to be distributed on Halloween. However, it is crucial to highlight that this attempt was made. Instead, it’s possible that the individual was just making a feeble effort to smuggle medications past the security checkpoints. The fact of the matter is that the probability that drug traffickers will be handing out free pills containing fentanyl this Halloween is quite minimal due to several different factors. To begin, there is a low probability that youngsters will become addicted to a drug if they accidentally consume it. Second, because even very small amounts of fentanyl can be fatal—just 2 milligrams, which would fit on the eraser of a pencil—consumers would have a higher risk of dying from accidental intake, which would leave drug traffickers with fewer individuals to prey upon. Third, who provides free medications to people? And this one is my personal favorite: if your child can find the carrot that you tried to conceal in their chicken nuggets, I have a strong suspicion that they will detect the “candy” that has a different appearance.”
Dr. Johnson-Arbor wants to stress that, “There is a risk of overdose with any form of fentanyl, and the number of overdose deaths caused by the illegal use of fentanyl in the United States is rising. If you or a loved one have had symptoms that were not anticipated or desired after taking opioid analgesics, including fentanyl, you should contact Poison Control for advice that is individualized, expert, and free of judgment. Poison Control can be reached either through their website (www.poison.org) or by phone (1-800-222-1222). Both options are available. Both of these choices are entirely free, private, and accessible at any time of day or night. Visit the website https://www.naloxoneforall.org/ to find out how to get your hands on some naloxone.”
According to Dr. Whyte, “Putting Halloween stories to the side, this issue does bring up a very genuine and frightening subject: the increasing incidence of opioid addiction, particularly including fentanyl, in recent years. This is a topic that should give us all pause.
The prevention of addiction is the primary concern that I have in this regard. It is well known that a person’s propensity to engage in avoidance or escape behaviors, which are the fertile ground for addiction, grows in proportion to the number of stresses in their environment. Therefore, what steps can we take to break this cycle? We need to take action at the first possible symptom of suffering, which many people recognize as burnout in today’s society. We’ll have a fighting shot against this epidemic if we can boost people’s ability to bounce back from adversity and cut down on feelings of burnout well before the pressure gets intolerable and they feel the need to self-medicate with pharmaceuticals. Visit the website www.killingburnout.com for additional details on how to strengthen your resilience and fight against burnout.”