With at least 46 confirmed deaths across several American states, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has temporarily banned the synthetic drug “Pink”. Known as U-47700 in the medical community, the drug was legal in most of the U.S. states, including Arizona. With the ban on Pink, the drug will now be categorized under Schedule I substance, putting it in the same category as heroin and cannabis.
The ban that came into effect on November 14, 2016 will last 24 months, with a possible 12-month extension, in case the DEA needs to perform more research on the substance. The ban is expected to help seize packages containing the drug during the shipping process.
Need to prevent diversion of controlled substances
Available in the form of powder, pill or nasal spray, the drug is commonly imported to the United States from China and other Asian countries and is grouped under the same family of powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil.
U-47700 was discovered in the 1970s but was never tested on humans. The name Pink comes from the pinkish hue of the powder and the way it is snorted through the pinky finger. The drug has already been banned by several European countries, including Sweden and Finland. In America, the drug has been banned in four states including Ohio, Georgia, Wyoming and Florida.
According to the data from Pennsylvania-based NMS Labs, use of Pink has been linked to 80 deaths across the United States, since January 2016. Further, of the 46 deaths across several American states, which occurred between October 2015 and September 2016, 31 fatalities occurred in New York and 10 in North Carolina. Two 13-year-old boys from Utah also succumbed to the deadly overdoses of the drug.
Since the drug has not been tested on humans, researchers are not sure of the exact strength of the drug. However, it is known that it is twice as potent than heroin and seven times more potent than morphine. It can be toxic even when taken in small doses. The drug is easily available on the internet and can easily be obtained online for as little as $5.
Rising deaths due to prescription opioids
While deaths due to prescription opioid increased from 8,050 in 1999 to 28, 647 in 2014, deaths caused due to an overdose of synthetic opioid also rose from 730 in 1999 to 5,544 in 2014, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Pink has effects that are quite similar to heroin and morphine, but it has a considerably shorter duration of action. In an interview with NBC News, Police Chief Wade Carpenter said that Pink is so powerful that a mere touch of the drug can cause cardiac arrest.
Though the ban by the DEA may help reduce the import of the drug to an extent, it does not entirely address the problem. According to a research, the compounds in the drug can be tweaked to produce a new substance that can stay in the market for a longer duration. Moreover, since the drug is often manufactured in illicit labs overseas, its purity and quality largely remains unknown.
Recovery road map
With an increase in deaths caused due to prescription drug overdoses across all U.S. states, it is important to seek immediate professional help. If you know someone who is addicted to prescription drugs, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to find the top prescription drug abuse treatment centers in USA. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 or chat online with our representatives to know more about the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in your locality.