PHOENIX — Three deaths in Maricopa County have been linked to a powerful synthetic opioid that can kill if even touched by someone.
The Phoenix branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration said three men fatally overdosed on “Pink,” or U-47700.
One, a 55-year-old from Phoenix, complained of back pain before he was found dead in his bedroom. Another was a 25-year-old Mesa man with a history of drug use. The third was a 24-year-old Phoenix man with a history of drug use. He had also overdosed once before.
The deaths came between April and August of last year.
“The discovery of the U-47700 in Maricopa County is a great concern for DEA, law enforcement and the community as the threat of opioid abuse continues to evolve,” Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of DEA in Arizona, said.
“The DEA’s HEAT program will target those dealers who directly supplied these lethal substances to the overdose victims.”
The DEA said agents with Phoenix’s HEAT Initiative learned of the deaths after a meeting with the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“Pink” is sold online and is 10 times more powerful than heroin.
It can kill someone if that person handles as little as one ounce.
The drug was developed as a morphine alternative, but was never approved for medical use.
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