After a simple search online, Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver ordered a bag of U-47700, a.ka. “pink.” The powder arrived from Shanghai at their friend’s house, as planned.
What happened next was not planned.
The two 13-year-old best friends shared many hobbies. From skiing, to biking, to skateboarding, they did everything together. This new “hobby” they tried together would prove fatal. Ryan and Grant died within 48 hours of each other, both due to acute drug intoxication.
When the boys ordered the drug, it was legal to own in the United States, but with pink death-tolls mounting, officials are moving to change this status. The “DEA has filed to have U-47700 listed as a banned substance, but that order hasn’t gone into effect yet.”
What is Pink?
U-47700 is a synthetic opioid. It was originally developed by a chemist at the Upjohn Company as part of research efforts to create new and improved painkillers. It is derived from morphine – but about eight times stronger – and the Food and Drug Administration never approved it for human use. And, as the two boys tragically discovered, pink is potentially lethal upon contact through skin or inhalation.
After decades of sitting on research shelves, the formula finally found its way onto the streets and into the hands of blackmarket consumers. It’s made overseas and usually arrives from China or nearby countries. Pink now officially joins drugs like fentanyl in the deadly market of opioid abuse.
The drug creates a “sense of euphoria, numbness, sedation and slowed breathing.” Healthcare workers familiar with pink report that it makes “people to completely lose a sense of reality” and warn the drug is “causing psychotic disorders like we’ve never seen before.”
A white powder with chalky consistency, pink gets its nickname from its use, rather than its appearance. Also called “pinky” or “pinkie,” the drug is often snorted (meaning it’s inhaled through the nose). Users grow out their pinky fingernails to scoop up the powder, then snort the drug through a nostril.
How Can You Protect Your Teen From Pink?
According to a press release on pink from CBS affiliate KUTV, here’s what you need to know:
What To Look For:
- White, chalky powder
- Also comes in liquid form; watch for dropper bottles and nasal inhalers
- Unmarked “stealth” delivery boxes – in some cases, these may have hand-written labels
- Boxes, vials, or plastic baggies labeled “Not for Human Consumption” or “For Research Purposes Only”
- Pay attention to any packages shipped to your house, especially those shipped from Asian countries
What To Do:
- U-47700 is extremely toxic, even in small doses.
- Exposure to U-47700 by either inhalation or skin contact can be fatal.
- If you believe you have encountered the drug, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
Additional Reading: Mirror Mirror – Landmark Study Paints a Portrait of Synthetic Drug Users
Image Source: iStock