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Drug agency trying to outlaw potent opioid ‘pink’ in US

(Wikimedia Photo)

PHOENIX — There’s an opioid on the streets that can kill at a touch and it’s legal in 46 states.

It’s called “pink” or “pinky” on the street and online. Erica Curry with the Phoenix office of the Drug Enforcement Administration said it’s 10 times more potent than heroin.

And, it can kill you if you touch less than one ounce.

“The overwhelming majority of [synthetic opioids like “pink”] are coming from foreign sources like China,” she said. “They’re being imported under the auspices of something legal, mislabeled intentionally to make it look like a legitimate parcel.”

Four states – Ohio, Florida, Wyoming and Georgia – have specifically outlawed the drug, which is known to the DEA as U-47700. Developed as a morphine alternative, it was never approved for medical use.

The agency has been trying to get the drug classified as Schedule 1 since September.

At least 17 people have died from overdosing on the drug, including two 13-year-old Utah boys in September. Authorities in Park City, Utah said the boys bought the drug online.

Whether people are buying it on the street or online, Curry said users should be aware that synthetic opioids, including pink, are dangerous.

“The addicts are looking for bigger … for a better high,” she said. “What they’re not realizing is, these new substances emerging on the street can kill you.”