The talking heads of Fox News are warning parents not to let their children trick-or-treat for Halloween this year following a warning from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) about fentanyl designed to look like candy.
Last month, the agency issued a bulletin after brightly colored fentanyl pills, powder and blocks were seized in 18 states, part of a “deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults.”
Earlier this week, Fox News dedicated an entire segment to "rainbow fentanyl," engaging in their latest edition of moral panic featuring network personality Jeanine Pirro saying parents should not "let their kids get that candy."
You can watch the coverage in the video below.
In response to a statement from her co-host Jesse Watters about rainbow fentanyl being "very hard to detect," Pirro said:
"Young children going out now to trick-or-treat, basically parents have a decision to make: You don't let your kids get that candy."
"It doesn't mean the person giving it out is intending to harm."
Co-host Dana Perino said parents should reconsider having a "massive Halloween," adding:
"There are going to be small groups of families that we know, we're going to do this in our backyard, in our basement, that's how we're going to do it."
"I don't understand how 300 Americans a day [of fentanyl overdoses]." Remember, what did we do when COVID was killing 300 people a day? We shut down the entire economy."
"It's amazing to me that we don't have an emergency Cabinet meeting called by the President of the United States that says, 'Alright, I'm calling a meeting on Thursday at 8 a.m. and I want everyone of you to come in here with two ideas for how we're going to deal with this fentanyl crisis."
Perino went on to suggest Democratic President Joe Biden's administration is not undertaking "an emergency effort to get the word out to the national media."
In fact, the Biden administration addressed the overdose and fentanyl crisis, releasing a comprehensive fact sheet in the days following the DEA's bulletin detailing the White House's efforts.
Earlier this week, the White House announced recent actions as part of National Recovery Month which include but are not limited to awarding $1.5 billion to all states and territories "to address the opioid crisis and support individuals in recovery" as well as investing $104 million to expand substance abuse treatment in rural communities.
Fox News was swiftly mocked for its melodramatic and misleading coverage.
Halloween candy panic is nothing new.
For decades, parents have heard urban legends and received "viral warnings of poisoned candy or candy distributed with sharp items like razors or needles inside," according to the fact-checking website Snopes.
Snopes noted the DEA's news release "made no mention of drug-laced Halloween candy."
However, Ronna McDaniel—Chairwoman of the Republican National Commitee—warned about rainbow fentanyl getting "into my kid’s Halloween basket" one day after Fox News reported "hundreds of thousands of fentanyl pills" had been seized by United States Customs and Border Protection agents in Arizona.