More Scares at Halloween Than the Costumes

Parental fears of Fentanyl laced candy


Illustration by Lex Villena

Halloween is right around the corner, which means your kids will be dressing up in their costumes, grabbing their plastic Jack-O-Lanterns and receiving a visit from the Grim Reaper this year! 

However, the fear parents have is not that their child will be hit by a car or that someone will take them, but those who might be giving out tainted treats. Fentanyl is the problem in this situation. This drug can be substituted for a favorite fruit flavored sweet. These round, colorful pills have been the cause of much heartache and many deaths among both adults and children. 

So, what is Fentanyl? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine.” in which, these effects can lead to the following: extreme happiness, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, problems breathing and unconsciousness.” They could easily be mistaken for candy. They come in varieties of colors such as green, pink, purple, yellow, and sometimes blue. 

How can you keep your child safe this Halloween and in future years to come? Check their candy! That’s the simplest thing to do. Right when they get home, do a quick bag (or plastic pumpkin) search. Though these little pills are colorful, they have symbols. According to Lake Washington School District, “These pills may be marked as “M30” and sometimes as “K9,” “215,” and “v48”.” Not only do they come in pill form, they come in a white powder form. Be sure to peek in your child’s fun dip as well. Be safe as well, wear gloves. Even getting this substance on your hands and face is enough to make you sick.

Fentanyl is very easy to get, considering it can be used for medical purposes. According to CDC, it is approved for “treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is prescribed in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges.” They have also openly admitted it can be diverted into abuse and be misused for those in the United States. The correct thing to do is to dispose of the drug yourself, instead of handing it out to children. 

Sheila Vakharia, deputy director of the department of research and academic engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance, tells NPR, “the attention that misinformation about rainbow fentanyl receives takes away from the realities of the overdose crisis.” Vakharia explains that in over 2 decades, over 1 million people have died from Fentanyl and 92,000 had died in 2020. The population of deaths still continues to grow.

Maria Deconti has stated that one of her friends’ sons had a headache. His mother gave him what looked like Advil or any kind of Ibuprofen to relieve him of his pain. Little did she know, it was too late. It was Fetanyl, and the teenage boy was found dead in his bed the next morning. Yes, it was an accident, but one little slip up can cost a life.

How can we keep more people alive and out of the risk of Fentanyl? Experts believe that all parents have a little fear of their little witch or zombie or vampire going out door-to-door, asking for some sweet treats “and that the attention around rainbow fentanyl will die down — misinformation about drug-laced candy is almost guaranteed to rise up from the dead again.” says NPR to Vakharia. Most doubt that the rainbow Fetnanyl will be back next year, but it’s a good idea to keep a lookout. As for adults being worried all night about their children? That’s a definite yes. They worry about it every year.

So maybe, have your own little party with your kids this year and invite their friends, and watch scary movies. Educate your children, get involved. Go trick or treating with your child and their friends.  Look through the bags when your child gets home. The only horror a parent should see on Halloween should be a ghost on your television chasing Scooby Doo and Shaggy.