“Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in the memo.
But Fox took that announcement and ran with it, because of course they did. Any chance to vilify immigrants is one they’re willing to cling to. So they’ve cranked up the panic wagon and warned parents to throw away any candy that resembles the drugs in the DEA’s seizure (sound advice since loose pills are probably uniformly unwanted) or to cancel the holiday altogether (a reactionary decision based on a hypothetical situation that has never happened).
According to a recent interview with a woman at what appears to be a Trump rally, the Goebbels lie theory seems to be working.
Joseph Palamar, an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health, told CNN, “I don’t think people will be giving these pills out as Halloween candy,” adding that in his study of illegal fentanyl trends, the colorful pills aren’t new and handing them out at Halloween isn’t actually a problem that exists in the world. Fentanyl users who leave the drug around the home for their small kids to find and eat is a much more fundamental and real issue.
Mariah Francis of the National Harm Reduction Coalition told Rolling Stone magazine, “The idea that because [the pills] are colorful means that [cartels] must be trying to force fentanyl or ply children or their Halloween candy is markedly ridiculous. [...] People just make creative colors, and honestly, there’s no reason for it. And it’s been happening for the last 60 years. We saw it with MDMA, we see it in club drugs. And it’s actually kind of embarrassing because the DEA is really just late, late to the party.”
Francis added that the belief that the cartel has any intention of passing off their drugs as candy to kids is “utterly divorced from reality.”
But Fox News is continuing to use the latest scare to terrify their viewers. Of course, it’s never an accident when bad news is tied to specific states just ahead of the midterms. In this case, the “new” report about rainbow fentanyl comes alongside reported incidents of kids overdosing after getting their hands on fentanyl—in the battleground states Georgia and Pennsylvania. (Note that neither of these states lies along the Southern border.)
But what’s never mentioned by Fox and other conservative media is that it’s not Biden’s fault, or the made-up boogeyman called “open borders,” but instead that the drug war, as Democrats and Republicans agree, has been a monumental failure in every way—except in how successful it has been in locking up as many Black and brown people as possible.
Just yesterday, Biden took the first steps to rectify the mistakes of the failed war on drugs—a war that trapped almost as many folks using marijuana as it did for those dealing meth, cocaine, heroin, and even fentanyl. According to Pew Research, “40% of the 1.65 million total drug arrests in the U.S. in 2018” were for marijuana sales or possession.
In a statement to the nation, Biden said in part: “Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”