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Former DEA official warns parents after fentanyl found disguised in candy packaging: 'It's a mass poisoning'

FOX News logo FOX News 9/27/2022 Amy Nelson
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Derek Maltz, former DEA special operations director, warned parents to educate themselves on the nationwide fentanyl crisis after officials seized 15,000 pills disguised as candy in Connecticut.

With Halloween just weeks away, the DEA is warning parents the deadly rainbow-colored pills may be marketed to children. The recent seizure in Connecticut found the drugs stashed in Skittles and Nerds packaging.

"We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of kids dying as young as 13 years old," Maltz said on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday.

"And we know now, the DEA says, that 40% of the pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl."

Some of the 15,000 fentanyl pills seized by law enforcement Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's Office © Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's Office Some of the 15,000 fentanyl pills seized by law enforcement Connecticut's U.S. Attorney's Office

Maltz explained to host Ainsley Earhardt that cartels are taking advantage of teens’ obsession with the internet by selling the drugs on social media platforms. The children being targeted in these sales, Maltz noted, may not know any better.

Maltz encouraged parents to seek out educational materials from the DEA and other non-profits to know what to look out for as Halloween approaches.

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"They have to be proactive," he said. 

"It’s deadly fentanyl, and it’s flooding our streets like we’ve never seen."

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Maltz advised concerned parents to open any suspicious candy packaging and notify police if drugs are found. He said the material needs to be immediately disposed of. 

"Stay away from it because it’s poison. It really is dangerous," he said. 

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Maltz added that schools need to get involved in combating the crisis, and he called on the Biden administration to act with a sense of urgency.

The U.S. saw synthetic opioid deaths jump from 6,000 in 2015 to more than 63,000 in 2021, with fentanyl being the biggest contributing factor. Some counties have reportedly run out of space in morgues due to fentanyl deaths. 

"This is not a drug issue, it’s a mass poisoning," he said. 

"We're losing a future generation -- 300 a day."

Fox News' Madison Scarpino contributed to this report.

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