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Deputies in Multnomah County discover 'rainbow fentanyl' during execution of search warrant

Police said the multi-colored version of fentanyl is dangerous both because it's more potent and because it could potentially be mistaken for something innocuous.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police say a new form of fentanyl has made its way to Portland, and it's both far more potent and more dangerous than the more common blue fentanyl pills. Police have referred to the new version as "rainbow fentanyl" due to its multiple colors

"We've seen addicts smoke it, inject it, and snort it. It's extremely dangerous," said Lt. Matt Jordan of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.

Jordan said deputies recently discovered four grams of powdered rainbow fentanyl while executing a search warrant. The sheriff's office has not released the location of the search warrant or the suspect's identity, citing the need to protect the integrity of the investigation.

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Jordan said the multi-colored version of fentanyl can be deadly, and he fears that if any children encountered it, they could mistake it for something different and harmless.

"To a little kid, it can look like sidewalk chalk," he said. "It can look like a Pixy Stick."

The warning from law enforcement comes as fentanyl has overtaken other drugs as a major threat in the Pacific Northwest. Last year in Oregon, 11 people under age 18 died from fentanyl, more than double the number of deaths from 2020.

"It is definitely around more," said Kelsi Junge, Harm Reduction Program supervisor at the Multnomah County Health Department.

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Producers may be adding dye to the fentanyl powder as a marketing tool, she said, or to signify different strengths and purities of the drug.

"What we're mostly seeing is this powder form being sold in very small amounts," she said.

But even the smallest amount of fentanyl can be deadly, especially in powder form.

"It's miniscule," Jordan said. "The fatal amount is absolutely miniscule."

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