BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “It might look sweet and harmless, but it’s likely deadly.” That is the message from health experts about ‘rainbow fentanyl’ — fake pills laced with fentanyl and designed to look like candy to attract young people.

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning to parents, after a massive seizure in New York City. There, a woman is accused of hiding 15,000 pills inside a Lego box.

Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein says Western New York has actually had pills like this on the streets for about a year.

“Initially, we were seeing blue colored pills with an M stamped on them. Lately, we’ve seen a variety of colors, like yellow and green,” said Burstein.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is asking for an additional $3.2 billion in the upcoming budget to fund programs that would combat this growing problem.

“Prevention, treatment, and recovery. The three silos where we’re seeking funding to go after the fentanyl scourge,” said Schumer.

This money wouldn’t just support the fight against ‘rainbow fentanyl,’ but the local opioid epidemic as a whole. It would fund free Narcan, provide fentanyl test strips, and give money to BestSelf Behavioral Health.

Since January 2021, Erie County has seen 539 deaths possibly connected to opioids.

“There is nothing that is safe,” warned Burstein. “Any drug that comes from anywhere other than a pharmacy, I think people have to assume that there is fentanyl in those drugs.”

While rainbow fentanyl has appeared in Western New York, News 4 reached out to the Opioid Epidemic Task Force to find out if there have been any cases of children ingesting or overdosing from it.

The Erie County Health Department responded by saying it has not received any reports of kids overdosing on the multi-colored pills.

Abby Fridmann is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.