Lethal Cocktail Of Drugs Called ‘Gray Death’ Is Causing Overdoses From Georgia To Canada
This week, at least a dozen people in Georgia were hospitalized after overdosing on a new street drug called “gray death.” Over the past four months, Georgia police have seized about 50 batches of grey death in the state, most of the seizures were concentrated in the Atlanta area. Last month, there were two seizures of the powerful cocktail of drugs in Virginia. The lethal cocktail has also been found in Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Gray death is said to have spread north to even Canada.
“What is uncommon is to see so many (overdoses) come in in such a short time frame,” said Dr. Christopher Hendry, chief medical officer of Navicent Health, one of three hospitals in Georgia that received users of gray death.
It is called “grey death” because of its color, and it looks like concrete mixing powder. However, chemists are not sure why it is that color. “To this date, I have no idea what makes it gray,” said Deneen Kilcrease, a forensic chemist with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab. “Nothing in and of itself should be that color.”
The drug is a potentially lethal combination of opioids that include U-47700, which is a synthetic opioid pain medication developed as a dangerous designer drug, as well as heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, which is an elephant sedative that is so potent that a single flake of pure carfentanil can tranquilize a 2,000-pound elephant. The deadly cocktail is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. Authorities say that the normal doses of Narcan, which is the medication typically used to reverse opioid overdoses, are not effective in treating gray death. The DEA has seized grayish heroin-like drugs since 2012, but it did not contain U-47700 until this year.
“These chemicals are all very potent and very deadly in isolation, but in the wrong hands … that’s a fast-track route to the morgue,” said Donna Iula, director of forensic chemistry at Cayman Chemical, a biotechnology company that works with federal and state crime labs to identify unknown street drugs. “It doesn’t take much to be a fatal dose,” said Scott May, Chemistry Program Manager at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science state lab. The gray death is said to be different dosages of the opioids that change from batch to batch, making it lethal to the users.
Two men recently overdosed on gray death in Auburn, Alabama. “One man injected the drug, and another snorted it. When the IV drug user passed out, the other man tried to resuscitate him before overdosing himself,” CNN reported. The drug is so potent that it is even a threat to first responders who try to help those who took the gray death. The drug can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled through the air.