Just when we’d thought we’d heard it all, an even more lethal drug concoction popped up on our radar. It’s just the latest killer in the opioid epidemic ravaging our country.
Dubbed “gray death” by authorities, this high-potency cocktail is responsible for multiple overdose deaths across several states including Alabama, Ohio, and Georgia.
Gray Death: A New Killer Combination
Gray death is a lethal amalgam, combining heroin, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and carfentanil, an animal tranquilizer 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and used for veterinary purposes on large animals (think elephants and hippos). And to top it all off, there’s also U-4770 mixed in, which is a synthetic opioid known on the streets as “Pink.”
“Gray death is one of the scariest combinations that I’ve ever seen in nearly 20 years of forensic chemistry drug analysis,” Deneen Kilcrease, manager of the chemistry section at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told The Associated Press.
It’s such a lethal mixture that the simple act of handling it without gloves allows the drug to seep into your skin, making its way into your bloodstream.
It typically resembles a concrete mixture and, though it varies in consistency, gray death can be injected, snorted, swallowed, or smoked.
So, why in the world would anyone want to put this stuff in their body?
Playing a Dangerous Game
Law enforcement officials believe that lower prices on the streets have steered users away from prescription painkillers and towards heroin, which is often cut with fentanyl and other fillers. Oftentimes, users don’t have a way of telling if the heroin they’ve purchased is pure or if it’s laced with something else before using it. That’s how gray death has inadvertently made its way into some drug users’ lives.
“You don’t know what you’re getting with these things,” said Richie Webber, who overdosed on fentanyl-laced heroin in 2014, told The Associated Press. “Every time you shoot up, you’re literally playing Russian roulette with your life.”
Do Not Underestimate This Drug
An exact number of deaths from the drug is unknown, but a spokeswoman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reported they’ve seen 50 overdose cases involving gray death over the past three months. In order to prevent more deaths from occurring, authorities are trying to create awareness about the danger of using this lethal concoction before it becomes a problem too large to combat.
“No one should underestimate the deadly nature associated with these cocktails,” said Russ Baer of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency told NBC News. “You can buy one of these cocktails for $10-20 on the street and lose your life in a few seconds.”
Learn More about the most common lethal drug combinations.
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