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Rainbow fentanyl, the 'colorful marketing tactic' already in Memphis streets

Two men recovering from drug addiction share what addition to fentanyl is making it more deadly for those in Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Fentanyl is the most dangerous drug threat facing the country, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It’s a rising problem in Memphis share those who work every day to help those who are addicted.

The DEA is warning of "rainbow fentanyl" – multicolored types of the drug it said is geared toward teens and young adults.

The multi-colored fentanyl, according to the non-profit, A Betor Way is a marketing tactic by drug dealers.

 The clientele are people who live in Memphis, and those across the country.

RELATED: Yes, ‘rainbow’ fentanyl is circulating in the United States

Two men whose lives were almost destroyed by the drug – are sharing why it’s even more important to get that addicted help.

“Heroin, meth, anything I could find,” shared Brad Yackey, describing the drugs he was addicted to after getting addicted to back pain medication.

Yackey said part of that addiction included fentanyl.

“It took too much heroin to get to the point where I needed to get to so fentanyl is stronger,” said the Betor Way volunteer and worker.

Yackey said it got to the point where he was looking to check out of consciousness, leading to his breaking point – the moment he knew he had to turn his life around.

“Apparently doing copious amounts of fentanyl and meth makes your organs shut down,” explained Yackey. “My body was shut down my feet were swollen.”

Rainbow fentanyl was around when he was using it.

“Different colors would be different strengths. You’d try to get the good stuff or the most potent you could get.”

RELATED: TBI notices new trends in Tennessee drug-related cases

Yackey explained it took him several decades to get into fentanyl and now it seems like young kids are just starting out with it.

Someone also recognizing its deadly risks, is Light Walleman who’s in recovery from fentanyl himself.

“The withdrawal is horrible,” said Walleman. “I’d like to describe it as being underwater and needing a breath of air. Until I get that my subconscious thinks I’m dying."

What’s new now is Xylazine or a tranq – which is being added to fentanyl and heroin for a more powerful drug effect.

“The disturbing thing about that tranq being in there is it’s FDA approved for animals not for humans,” said Walleman. “What we’re seeing is a lot of injection site wounds.”

He added it’s acting on the central nervous system, also giving people who take it a zombie effect. Something Walleman just witnessed just Friday.

“He’d be awake one moment and next moment he’d be completely leaned over standing up but asleep at the same time,” shared Walleman.

Fentanyl strips can save someone’s life. The user can put them in water with a sample of a substance and can quickly learn if their life was in immediate danger.

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