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Children Not Target of ‘Rainbow Fentanyl,’ Experts Say. And Adding Color May Actually Protect Drug Users

Parents may have noticed a disturbing trend on social media this month: claims that fentanyl is being manufactured in colorful tablets that are meant to attract their children.

Politicians like Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) spread the news on their own social media accounts, telling parents to be aware ahead of the upcoming Halloween holiday and blaming President Joe Biden for not cracking down harder on immigration. And programs like Fox News and Good Morning America have covered the claims as well.

In reality, experts say colorful fentanyl is not likely to pose a risk to children, and in fact, it might actually help keep users from unintentionally overdosing. What’s more, rather than helping to protect children, the spread of misinformation like this could actually be harmful for those who are already at risk.

As Chad Lee-Stronach, a professor of philosophy who studies risk, says, sensational headlines, and especially those involving children, could distort one’s sense of danger. 

“There are certain cognitive biases that we have that lead us to have a distorted appreciation of the actual risk,” he says. In cases like these, “we confuse salience for greater degree of risk.” 

Read more at News @ Northeastern.

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