Rainbow fentanyl seized in Charlotte; rehab facility warns of risks ahead of Halloween

CMPD arrests 25-year-old with “rainbow fentanyl” in northeast Charlotte.
CMPD arrests 25-year-old with “rainbow fentanyl” in northeast Charlotte.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:35 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - During a traffic stop on Sept. 7, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police seized rainbow fentanyl from a 25-year-old, alerting rehab facilities the drug has made its way to Charlotte in time for Halloween.

During the seizure, police found approximately 23 grams of suspected fentanyl, 12 grams of heroin, 5 grams of crack cocaine and nearly 60 grams of suspected synthetic marijuana.

Rodreques Brown, 25, was arrested for drug/narcotic violations. He also already had a fugitive warrant from South Carolina.

“What goes through my head is is what is most fearful and what is most frightening is that this is an element and a detail that is added to fentanyl known to target young adults, minors, and to make this very deadly and evil drug appear,” Ward Blanchard, the Blanchard Institute CEO and a former opioid addict, said.

Rainbow fentanyl is known to present in bright, vibrant colors and look like candy and/or chalk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2021. Of those, 66% were related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

“It is dangerously attractive, meaning it looks bright and colorful and cheerful. Whether it’s in pill form looking like Skittles or whether it’s in chalk form looking like, you know, bright fluorescent sidewalk chalk or, like fluorescent taffy,” Blanchard said. “There is no question that this added element of rainbow in color is designed to make it more attractive and make it seem less harmful and hide the fact of how deadly it is. And it is very effective at looking bright and cheerful and colorful and especially leading up to Halloween, it’s very dangerous that this is coming up in our community leading up to Halloween.”

Blanchard said his clinics have been seeing kids younger and younger coming in for treatment.

“The scary thing is it’s just getting younger. In fact, when I used to go around and speak to high schools and colleges, now I’m going around and talking to middle schools,” he said.

While most kids and parents think they might just be experimenting with drugs like their parents used to, Blanchard said, the risk is too high.

“The kids that are dying are dying of fentanyl poisoning, not fentanyl overdose. It’s the incidental exposure,” he said.

He encouraged parents to create an open line of communication with their kids.

“The most important thing that you can do as a parent and as a family member is just to be present and engaged and create an environment where there can be conversation, there can be education, there can be awareness because you’re not going to talk this risk away,” Blanchard said. “But the best thing you can do is being present and engaged. So there can be conversation. So there can be questions when they do come up.”