Russell says the drug looks like concrete mix and varies in consistency from a hard, chunky material to a fine powder. Among the pills found at the estate of singer and performer Prince, where he was found dead in April 2016, contained U-47700, a category drugs that is rated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as most unsafe of all. In that moment, the DEA had confirmed 46 deaths associated with U-47700 and noted that 31 of the fatalities occurred in NY and 10 in North California. Heroin and other opioids accounted for about half of these deaths.
"What makes it so unsafe is that it only takes a flake, literally half-a-grain of sand to be fatal to a human being, and it can be absorbed or it can be inhaled", says Deneen Kilcrease with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Law enforcement officers and judges should use whatever tools are at their disposal to handle that type of offender with the severity that surely is deserved.
Gray death is a flawless example of the purely evil nature of the industry that has sprung up around the plague of addiction afflicting Appalachia, and, increasingly, the rest of the country. Furthermore, the drugs are strong and can be absorbed through the skin, and simply touching the powder can put users at risk. Much more potent than heroin alone, investigators have seen the drug injected, swallowed, smoked and snorted.
In Ohio, the coroner's office that serves the Cincinnati area said a similar compound has been coming in for months. This last ingredient alone has been responsible for around 50 deaths in last two years in 6 USA states and when used in combination with other additives, makes for an even more fatal substance.
Chicago authorities for several months have noted an increase in heroin-related deaths, including overdoses related to fentanyl-spiked heroin. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention said that a major driving factor in the epidemic is the increase in opioid prescriptions since 1999, increasing prescription opioid sales up to four times. In Ohio, a record 3,050 people died of drug overdoses a year ago, most the result of opioid painkillers or their relative, heroin.
Some communities also are seeing fentanyl mixed with non-opioids, such as cocaine. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine this week promoted a logical, two-prong approach to dealing with the issue of opiod abuse. "Now, sometimes they're looking at it, at least initially, and say 'Well, we don't know'".
This opioid combination has been named the Gray Death.
Between the years of 2000 and 2015, more than half a million Americans died from a drug overdose, with 91 deaths from an opioid overdose a day.
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