The current opioid crisis in America has left almost no state untouched, including Ohio. Overdose numbers continue to climb, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed a lawsuit against five pharmaceutical companies for their role in creating the current situation. However, a new threat has entered the arena, and its name is Gray Death.

What Is Gray Death?

Law enforcement is warning the public about Gray Death, a new combination of drugs being found on the street. Its nickname comes from its appearance, similar in color to concrete mix. Found in a variety of forms from hard chunks to fine powder, Gray Death is incredibly dangerous and can quickly lead to overdose and death.

The drug is made up of a cocktail of different opioids, including:

Gray Death can be swallowed, injected, snorted, or smoked to produce a powerfully addictive ‘high’, and it can also be absorbed through the skin; just touching it is enough to risk an overdose.

It is much more potent than heroin, putting current heroin addicts at greater risk. Much of that potency comes from the inclusion of U-47700, a powerful synthetic opioid circulating the streets.

What is U-47700?

Also known as ‘U4”, “Pinky” and “Pink” on the streets due to its slightly pink color, U-47700 is a formidable substance. In 2016, the DEA classified it as a Schedule 1 Substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it:

  • Is an imminent threat to public safety
  • Has a high potential for abuse
  • Has no current accepted medical use

U4 is a ‘designer drug’, a synthetic opioid created in illegal drug labs in China and imported to the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “Pink” is seven to eight times stronger than morphine. However, its creation in unregulated drug labs means that it could potentially be even stronger, resulting in more accidental overdose deaths.

Opioid Crisis in Ohio

The rising prevalence of opioid addiction in Ohio is staggering. In 2016, there were 4,149 accidental opiate overdose deaths across Ohio. 2.3 million prescriptions for opioids were written, which equals about 20 percent of the state’s population.

The opioid crisis is also being blamed for an increase in heroin users. Opioids and heroin contain the same active compound, resulting in a similar ‘high’ for the user. Heroin is also often cheaper and can be easier to find on the street. This dual increase of opioid and heroin addiction is compounded by the arrival of Gray Death, which puts both groups of users at even greater risk for overdose.

Ohio has invested over $1 billion a year to fight drug abuse and addiction and has reined in opiate prescription guidelines. The next step is to ramp up treatment and offer more support for those that need it.

Help For Ohioans

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to opioids or other drugs in Ohio, Recovery Village Columbus is here to help. We believe that recovering from addiction requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses the mind, body, and soul of the person seeking help. We offer a multi-disciplinary treatment plan customized to your needs, focusing on a healthy lifestyle. Our scenic retreat is located less than an hour from Denver to serve you and your family during this transitional time. Contact us today to learn about our treatment options.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.