TULALIP RESERVATION, Wash. — A North Sound tribal reservation is on high alert after the discovery of those so-called “rainbow fentanyl” pills.
The police chief believes they could be especially dangerous for children.
The Tulalip Tribal Police Department made the concerning discovery last week. A suspect was arrested on the reservation with dozens of brightly colored pills laced with fentanyl.
Police Chief Chris Sutter immediately sounded the alarm. This kind of alert is unusual for this police department.
The finding alarmed the chief so much, that he did an interview on his day off, he says, to help save lives.
“And what’s alarming to me, personally, is I believe this is a marketing technique for the drug trafficking organizations to try to market to younger users, youth, children,” Chief Sutter said. “And the real concern is if a child found one of these pills, it would be deadly.”
Chief Sutter says they just learned the ‘rainbow fentanyl’ had arrived on the Tulalip reservation. Last week, a member of the department’s drug task force stopped someone in the parking lot of the Tulalip Casino Resort. In his possession were dozens of the candy-colored fentanyl pills, deadlier than most everything else on the street.
“It’s 50 to 100 times more potent and deadly than heroin,” he said.
Fentanyl has already had a devastating effect on the tribe. Chief Sutter says that since 2017, some 60 tribal members have died after overdosing on the powerful drug. And it’s not just in this tribe.
Last week, the Lummi Nation posted on social media after four deaths on that reservation near Bellingham. Chief Sutter confirmed fentanyl was responsible. And one of the four who died, he says, was on the Tulalip reservation.
The impact has been felt across this tight-knit community.
“These are just things that are the effect, the ripple effect of being in generational trauma,” said Shelbi Hatch, a Tulalip and Native American liaison for the Marysville School District. “So, these things happened 100 years ago. It’s not going to just magically disappear out of our existence.”
The chief says the person arrested was not a Tribal member. So, the drugs are coming from the outside.
With Halloween about a month away, he is warning parents, guardians, and really anyone, to be on alert.
The pills can easily be mistaken for candy. One pill can kill an adult. Any exposure can kill a child.
The chief says he is growing weary of so much death from the drug.
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