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Lethal Synthetic Opioid “Pink” Linked To Deaths Nationwide

Synthetic Opioid A new street drug called U-47700 and nicknamed “pink,” “pinky” or simply “U4,” has been given an emergency scheduling by the DEA following a rash of deaths across the country.

Synthetic Opioid Crisis

Emergency ruling

The DEA headquarters recently released a statement saying the synthetic drug, which is being sold online and imported from China, had “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” and that it would therefore be categorized alongside other Schedule I chemicals such as heroin and LSD. This scheduling action stays in effect for 24 months, but could be extended for another 12 months while DEA decides whether the drug should be permanently scheduled.

Spike in mortality rates

Similar to opioids like oxycodone or heroin, U4 gives the user feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Unfortunately, it also causes severe respiratory depression, making it incredibly easy to overdose. According to The Washington Post, there have been 15 confirmed fatalities, with other estimates as high as 120, including incidents in Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. Notably, the Associated Press reported that the substance was also found at Prince’s estate. Most recently, the drug tragically took the lives of two 13-year-old Utah boys, only 48 hours apart. Another three overdosed in Alaska.

An alarming trend

Healthcare workers are shocked at the drug’s potency. According to a Rolling Stone article, U-47700 is about seven and a half times more potent than morphine. But, that’s only when it is manufactured to the patent specifications. When it’s made in underground labs – as is increasingly the case – the chemical makeup can change. And those changes can have deadly consequences.

Despite the uptick in use and overdose deaths, the drugs, only four states have made it illegal to date.

Getting care before it’s too late

All drugs in all doses have the potentially fatal effects. But the kinds of drugs that have gained notoriety as of late are particularly dangerous because of their unpredictability. Heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and now pink are being produced at a record pace, with different chemical makeups in each batch. And they’re killing scores of addicts in their wake.

You don’t have to live a life of addiction – there is another way. We have a professional staff of recovery specialists and offer medical detox programs. If you are struggling with addiction, or love someone who is, call us now at 800-439-5959. We’re here 24/7 and ready to talk about getting you the help you need.

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