A deadly new synthetic opioid drug, “Pink” (also known as U-47700) has already killed 80 people nationwide. The untested opioid is available in powder, pill or liquid form, and is easy to find and buy. Law enforcement says the new drug is nearly eight times more powerful than heroin, and they expect it to kill more people as its popularity grows.

While “pink” is not yet a common drug, hospitals are seeing more overdoses from it, and overdoses have occurred across the U.S. in different age groups. The substance, like many opioid drugs, is highly addictive.

Where Did “Pink” Come From?

Pink’s formula was derived from a formula once owned by Upjohn, the pharmaceutical company that developed the drug in 1978. The drug was never sold or tested on humans, but it was formulated to be an alternative to morphine. Opportunistic drug dealers formulated their own version by studying the formula from online patent records and old medical journals. Some sellers of the drug originate in China, while other sellers are located here in the U.S. None of sellers purport to be doctors and most of the items they sell are labeled “not for human consumption” in an attempt to avoid liability.

Like many synthetic drugs sold on the internet, the drug’s mixture and content can vary from supplier to supplier. Some drugs marketed as “pink” have been found to contain fentanyl as well. There is no regulation of these drugs whatsoever.

Is Pink a Legal Drug?

Pink is technically legal, but only because it’s “new”. On September 7th, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency proposed a temporary placement of the drug on the Schedule I list of controlled substances , which can take up to three years to review and implement. Critics hope that the DEA speeds up the process in order to save lives.

Law enforcement is vigilant in many of the regions touched by the opiate epidemic, and legislators are taking note.

Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, recently announced that he will pre-file legislation to ban online sales of U-47700 entirely. In places like Florida, where 10% of fatal overdoses have occurred, local government banned the drug quickly.

The deadliest aspect of the drug is the fact that it hasn’t been outlawed yet.


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