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Several pill bottles spill out to reveal rainbow coloured prescription medication

What Is Rainbow Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid—more people than ever are seeking detox treatment to fight its addictive properties. 

But what is rainbow fentanyl? This new and colourful variation of the drug is said to target young people and children, often coming in the form of pills or powder. Unfortunately, it is just as addictive and deadly as its less colourful sibling.

There’s no way around it: fentanyl is here to stay and will continue to harm those who use it. Staying informed is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones, so keep reading this article to get the information you need to do that.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow… 

Canada’s opioid crisis is ongoing, as young people, their families, and their communities continue to be torn apart by drug overdose.

The Government of Canada reported a total of 7,328 opiate overdose deaths occurring in 2022—81% involving fentanyl. Just two milligrams is enough to cause a fatal overdose, which is especially troublesome considering its lack of a distinct taste or smell makes it easy to mix in methamphetamine and cocaine

Make no mistake: the rainbow variety is still fentanyl in every sense. The only difference is that it is much more colourful and made to look like candy. This seemingly friendly exterior just makes it more enticing to children and young adults

Fentanyl’s Medicinal Properties 

Like other opioids, fentanyl is a strong pain medicine that works by interrupting the nerve signals that transmit pain between the brain and your body. 

Doctors can prescribe fentanyl to help you manage severe pain caused by major surgery or trauma. The substance is also used to help ease chronic ailments. Patches and lozenges can be prescribed by doctors to treat cancer pain, for instance.

A patient laying in a hospital bed hooked up to IVs

Where Does Fentanyl Come From? 

Unfortunately, fentanyl’s potency and effectiveness in a medical setting also attracted the attention of illegal drug manufacturers. Illicit fentanyl, including its analogs often referred to as rainbow fentanyl, is produced clandestinely in unregulated labs. It’s then smuggled illegally to be sold for profit.

The world’s drug enforcement administration has long been at war with drug traffickers and drug cartels over fentanyl and other illicit drugs. In Canada, illicit fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing our society. 

How Fentanyl Affects Your Health 

Rainbow fentanyl is the same chemically as its less-colourful cousin—don’t believe the rumours that its potency varies based on colour. 

Rather, the effects of the substance depend on how your body reacts to it, so each user’s experience is different. However, you can most likely expect to experience these symptoms if you choose to or accidentally use it. 

Extreme Disorientation 

Expect confusion or distortion of your immediate surroundings. This may be extremely uncomfortable and might induce panic or severe stress.

Difficulty Breathing 

People often report having difficulty breathing after using fentanyl. This can lead to disorientation or even lead the user to lose consciousness. 


It is an extremely potent sedative that lowers blood pressure and heart rate. These rapid changes often put people to sleep. 

Constipation and Other Gastrointestinal Problems 

Your body’s reaction could include gastrointestinal issues such as constipation. It could also affect your gut health and the bacteria that help your body digest nutrients, leading to appetite loss or vomiting after a meal.

a black and white photo of a person with no shoes on laying on the street

Signs of a Fentanyl Overdose

As with regular fentanyl, drug overdoses are incredibly common. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, call an ambulance straight away.

  • Chest pain
  • Slowed breathing
  • Bluish lips and complexion
  • Seizure
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Cold and/or clammy skin
  • Passing out
  • Deep comatose

Seeking immediate help can reverse the effects through the use of Naloxone—administering it can be the difference between life and death. Consider keeping a naloxone kit handy if you or someone you love is using fentanyl or at risk of being exposed to it.

How To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones 

The candy-like appearance of rainbow fentanyl pills makes them easy to distribute to kids and young adults. That’s why being informed and learning how to educate your children about drugs is incredibly important. 

Make sure your children and family members know how to identify the drugs from normal candy—especially as Halloween approaches. The drug is brightly coloured and resembles Skittles or Smarties—carefully check the Halloween candy your children may get while trick or treating. Warn them that the drugs are also sold in powder form that looks like crystallized sugar or salt. 

If you’re using fentanyl as a medication, ensure you’re following the correct dosage prescribed by your doctor. This includes stopping your medication when the doctor says to do so. Remember: this substance is extremely addictive with a high overdose rate

Freedom From Fentanyl Addiction 

There’s no doubt about it: Fentanyl—whether rainbow or otherwise—is incredibly addictive and extremely dangerous. The good news is that if you’re suffering from this addiction, you don’t have to fight through it alone. 

Freedom From Addiction is here to help. We offer a range of treatment and therapy programs created to address various forms of substance abuse. We’ll provide you with the support, encouragement, and accountability you need to get better. 

Call us now to start your journey toward wellness.


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