The Opioid Epidemic’s New Killer Mix “Grey Death”

The Opioid Epidemic's New Killer Mix "Grey Death"The latest and fatal opioid drug combination to make headlines is being called “Grey Death” by investigators. The dangerous mix of drugs has already caused dozens of overdoses, including four deadly ones in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio, and is just one more daunting hurdle in the ongoing fight against this country’s opioid epidemic.

In 2015, the opioid crisis claimed the lives of more than 33,000 people in the U.S. – due mostly to opioid painkillers and heroin. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9,000 of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is up to 50 times stronger than heroin.

What is Gray Death? What Does it Look Like and What’s in It?

Having the appearance of concrete, this latest mix of heroin, fentanyl and other highly dangerous chemicals is just another example of the many new synthetic mixes turning up on the black drug market. The mixture is said to vary in consistency – anywhere from hard and chunky to a fine powder that can be injected, swallowed, smoked or snorted.

The elephant tranquilizer, carfentanil – said to be 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, and a synthetic opioid called U-47700, better known as “Pink”, are also found in this new substance. Both drugs have caused dozens of fatal overdoses in recent months.

“Gray death is one of the scariest combinations that I have ever seen in nearly 20 years of forensic chemistry drug analysis,”Deneen Kilcrease, Manager Chemistry Section, Georgia Bureau of Investigation - told the Associated Press

Spokeswoman for the agency, Nelly Miles, told the Associated Press that there have been 50 reported overdoses cases involving Gray death in the last three months.

The ingredients in Gray death and the level of concentration can be so potent that just touching it can put people at risk, according to Kilcrease.

Synthetic Opioid Overdose Deaths

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) temporarily listed U-47700 as a Schedule I substance last year because it was linked to dozens of overdose deaths, mainly in New York and North Carolina. New York lawmakers have proposed bills to combat the opioid epidemic, including one that would permanently add this synthetic drug to the Schedule I opiate list.

In 2015, Ohio became the state with 4th highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation, according to the CDC. From 2014 to 2015, the state recorded a 21.5% increase (29.9 per 100,000) in overdose fatalities – 3,050 Ohio residents died of overdoses linked predominately to opioid painkillers, heroin and fentanyl.

The problem with grey death and other dangerous mixes is that consumers don’t know what they’re getting. What they may think is just heroin can actually be laced with any one of these other toxic synthetic chemicals, and can easily lead to an accidental overdose.

Law enforcement is constantly fighting to keep up with the many drug cocktails being created on a daily basis made from opioids that are smuggled into the country from Mexico and China. These chemicals are also being mixed in with batches of methamphetamine, cocaine and THC.

No one should underestimate the deadly nature associated with these cocktails. You can buy one of these cocktails for $10-$20 on the street and lose your life in a few seconds.Drug Enforcement Agency spokesman Russ Baer told BuzzFeed News

Find Opioid Addiction Treatment

At Get Treatment, we understand the impact of opioid addiction, and we are dedicated to helping individuals all across the country find the rehabilitation program they need to achieve lasting recovery. Our featured and top-rated drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers provide patients with individualized treatment plans and comprehensive, high-quality care. Whether you are in need of an inpatient program that provides medical detox, therapy and aftercare services, or are looking for an outpatient rehab program, the admissions specialists at Get Treatment can help you. Call us today at 855-638-9268 to get started on your recovery journey.

Additional Sources: 

Erica Loret de Mola

Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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