Given the news of late dedicated to covering this nation's most serious drug epidemic, there is a good chance that fentanyl is a drug that is now part of your pharmacological lexicon. Depending on the purity of fentanyl, the drug can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. When mixed with heroin or pressed into pills to resemble oxycodone pills, unbeknownst to drug users, the outcomes are often deadly.
Naturally, in the dark underworld of illicit drug use, there is hardly any kind of code. Dealers provide a service to people who are dependent on opioids, they are not required to disclose the ingredients of their product. And even if they did, one could easily argue that many an opioid addict would take the risk and use the admixture regardless. The fire of addiction needs to be fed, one way or another.
Powerful opioid painkillers like fentanyl are certainly on the radar of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Yet, they all seem to be at a loss regarding curbing the deadly fentanyl trend. And if that is not disconcerting enough, there are even deadly synthetic opioids to contend with making their job even more difficult.
Of late, sporadic stories of powerful painkillers, some of which are used to sedate large animals. And by large, we mean elephants. Carfentanil is an analog of fentanyl, 10,000 times more potent than morphine. U-47700 is another analog of fentanyl that is much stronger than morphine and has been rearing its ugly head in America.
In the state of Georgia, there have been 50 overdose cases in the past three months from a deadly mixture of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and U-47700, the Associated Press reports. The dangerous admixture is being called “Gray Death.” The compound looks like concrete mix, and is believed to have caused overdoses in Alabama and Ohio, as well.
"Gray death is one of the scariest combinations that I have ever seen in nearly 20 years of forensic chemistry drug analysis," said Deneen Kilcrease, manager of the chemistry section at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The nature of opioid use in America seems to be ever changing, and with it the risks. Heroin by itself is dangerous, but with these new admixtures…the best thing that people in the grips of opioid addiction can do is to seek treatment before they end up getting a bad batch.
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