Florida enacted a law in May that addressed the trafficking of so-called rainbow fentanyl. The law will become effective October 1.
Proponents of the law assert it will protect children from the dangerous drug. However, while it cannot be denied that fentanyl is a dangerous drug that should be removed from Florida streets and kept out of the hands of children, some believe the new law does not address any real issue, as there are few if any reports that any children have purposely been given the drug.
What is rainbow fentanyl?
“Rainbow fentanyl” is the name given to a type of fentanyl that is supposedly designed to be attractive to minors. The new law that addresses this type of fentanyl applies to forms of the drug that either:
- Take on the appearance of a name-brand food,
- Utilize an actual or false copyright or trademark,
- Appear to be candy, food, gum or vitamins, or
- Carry the depiction of a cartoon character
Those who support the bill believe that forms of fentanyl that meet the above descriptions are meant to be attractive to children and entice children to use the drug.
Penalties under the rainbow fentanyl law
Under the new law, those who sell, produce or traffic rainbow fentanyl to an adult will face a mandatory prison term of at least three years. Under the new law, if an adult sells or otherwise provides a child with rainbow fentanyl, the adult will face a mandatory prison term of at least 25 years.
Is rainbow fentanyl a danger to children?
It is important to recognize that all fentanyl improperly and unlawfully ingested is dangerous to any user. Fentanyl should not be manufactured, sold, administered or used unless there is a medical reason to do so. Fentanyl improperly used can be fatal.
But there are few if any reports that adults are purposely selling or giving children “rainbow fentanyl.” Moreover, some say more attention should be placed on increasing the availability of Narcan and testing products that can be used to address the ongoing problem of fentanyl overdoses in Florida.
Still, any drug charges in Florida involving fentanyl should be taken seriously, and this law is no exception. Enhanced penalties for certain drug crimes are not unusual and can significantly impact the lives of those charged with them.