Latest Lethal Opioid Threat: Gray Death

May 07, 2017, 00:48
Latest Lethal Opioid Threat: Gray Death

Gov. Nathan Deal signed the legislation on Thursday. In northwest Georgia, two out of every three patients weren't from the state.

The new opioid combination is a new drug that has been going around.

A new opioid drug that looks like concrete can kill in one dose. In Rhode Island, the state has recommended that individuals with a history of cocaine use receive supplies of the anti-overdose drug naloxone.

"It appears that we have had abuses of the system", Deal said.

In some places, fentanyl is also being mixed with non-opioids, like cocaine.

Fatal overdoses from heroin quadrupled over the last five years nationally, according to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics Feb. 24.

A new and risky opioid combo, called "gray death" underscores the ever-changing nature of the US addiction crisis.

Gray death is a unsafe opioid combo that has been detected in overdose episodes recorded in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio.

So called because it looks like concrete mix and can be found in hard lump or in a fine powder, it is said to be unsafe due to the unknown quantities of each drug and additional cutting agents.

Deneen Kilcrease manages the chemistry section at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab.

What's more unsafe about gray death is that its users are often unaware of the ingredients and exact concentrations of what they are taking, and more often than not, they do not know that the drug they are buying has been mixed with other risky drugs as well. And because these strong drugs can be absorbed through the skin, simply touching the powder puts users at risk.

The Drug Enforcement Administration listed the synthetic opioid U-47700 as a Schedule I drug in November 2016. Some of the pills taken from Rockstar Prince's estate after the musician's overdose death contained U47700.

While the drug has reportedly reached Ohio, Kentucky and a few other states, Russell, the chairman of the First Responder Committee of the Chicagoland Opiate Area Task Force, is now unaware if "gray death" has made its way to the Chicago area, the coroner's office said.

So far, it's been limited to the Gulf Coast and states like Georgia and OH and "we are monitoring the potential spread of this deadly combination of drugs", Russ Baer of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency told NBC News.

Fentanyl-related deaths spiked so high in OH in 2015 that state health officials asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send scientists to help address the problem. The drug has been confirmed in Hamilton County (Cincinnati), and the state attorney general is investigating other possible cases. Combinations also pose a problem to scientists, as they struggle to find out the components of the mix. "Here in Winter Park, we've had nine - just past year - we had nine either heroin-related deaths or near deaths".

And it's the latest killer drug cocktail making headlines in the ongoing war against the national opioid crisis. Heroin-related overdoses more than quadrupled since 2010, with death rates increasing by more than 20 percent from 2014 to 2015 alone. He's now sober and runs a treatment organization, Fight for Recovery, in Clyde, Ohio.

A combination of the deadliest opioids known as "Gray Death" is claiming lives in other parts of the country and could be headed here, a Chicago area coroner is warning.

No local agency we spoke to has encountered the drug, but the Orlando Police Department tells us it takes toxicology 8-12 weeks to determine the chemical makeup of a drug, so all police departments are on the lookout.

"You don't know what you're getting with these things", the recovering addict said.

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