Gray death: unsafe opioid combo is latest mixing trend
- Author: Santos West May 09, 2017,
May 09, 2017, 3:37
"We have put out the bulletin to all of the other drug task forces in Ohio", Lorain County detective Jim Larkin told CBS affiliate KMTV. "It's a disease, and we need to stop thinking of it as something purposeful people are doing", said Deborah Comella, executive director of Drug-Free Southwest Florida. Fentanyl is being found cut into cocaine supplies in a number of states including Rhode Island. Almost 4,000 people in Florida have died because of opioid overdoses.
Authorities are issuing warnings about a new and risky opioid combo they're dubbing "gray death" that underscores the ever-changing nature of the US addictions epidemic. Now, there's a new drug in town that ranks high on the list of worst offenders: "'Gray Death", a drug cocktail that looks like a chunk of concrete, and can kill with just one dose.
It is a synthetic substance called U-47700, but people started calling it gray death due to its consistency and fatal capabilities. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has had almost 50 gray death overdose cases in the past three years, primarily from Atlanta area.
Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer, is an opioid 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, according to a news release from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some of the pills taken from Prince's estate after the musician's overdose death past year contained U-47700.
Deneen Kilcrease manages the chemistry section at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab.
Gray death has a higher potency than heroin, according to the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has already received 50 overdose calls in the last three months, with most stemming from gray death.
In Ohio, the coroner's office that serves the Cincinnati area said a similar compound has been coming in for months.
Gray Death can also be sold in powder form and has been responsible for thousands of overdoses across the country.
The combo is just the latest in the trend of heroin mixed with other opioids, such as fentanyl, that has been around for a few years.
The presence of substances like gray death are causing a problem for police conducting drug raids.
"They're anxious about you actually taking it in through your skin, versus regular heroin [which] isn't that much of a threat". Most were the result of opioid painkillers or their relative, heroin. He says he wants to stay ahead of the curve and warn the public about the drug's danger.
In 2014, Webber accidentally overdosed on fentanyl-laced heroin. "It took about six hits of NARCAN before they were able to revive him".
He's now sober and runs a treatment organization, Fight for Recovery, in Ohio. This has been investigated as to how the drug can affect the user.