Current Drug Trends-Grey Death

There Have Been Known Overdoses from Grey Death

A relatively new designer drug has been hitting the streets in the southeast that users are calling Grey Death. I first became aware of this drug when I saw a public Facebook post on the Facebook page “Drug Enforcement Cops.” The author of the post asked for help in identifying a drug he had recovered off of a suspect (see the post below). The photo looked very much like fentanyl products seen around the country.

Gray Death

Then, on May 1, 2017, Gulf Coast HIDTA released a bulletin about a new synthetic opiate hitting the streets called grey death. According to HIDTA, grey death is the only terminology known to identify this new synthetic drug. According to HIDTA:

Grey Death appears similar to concrete mixing powder and varies in texture, which ranges from a chunky rock-like material to a fine powder. It is not a single drug, but is considered to be a compound containing several potent opioids. It has a potency much higher than that of heroin and can be administered via injection, ingestion, insufflation, and smoking. The analysis of each grey death sample collected so far revealed the presence of U-47700, heroin, and fentanyl; though the amount of each drug within grey death varied from sample to sample.

U-47700 is a relatively new designer drug responsible for a series of overdoses nationwide. U-47700 is approximately eight times more potent than morphine and can be ingested using a variety of methods. It is unknown at this time how U-47700 interacts with either fentanyl or heroin within the body.

There have been several overdoses and overdose-related deaths across Georgia and Alabama linked to grey death. There were two confirmed overdoses in Auburn, Alabama and another two in Georgia as a result of experimentation with the compound. The two subjects in Auburn ingested the compound using different methods; one by intravenous injection and the other by insufflation. The IV user lost consciousness soon after administration and the other user attempted to resuscitate him using CPR before he also overdosed.

The DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory determined that the sample from Alabama was comprised of the same drugs as the sample from Georgia. It is important to note that the amount of each ingredient differed between the Georgia/Alabama cases. Some of the samples collected from Georgia contained butyrfentanyl and acrylfentanyl, while other samples showed an entirely different composition.

Current Drug Trends
Get the latest on synthetic opioids in my online course Current Drug Trends

I cover U47700, fentanyl and other synthetic opiates in my class “Current Drug Trends” which is also available as an online course.

As with all synthetic drugs, especially opiates, you need to wear the proper protective equipment. In a simple possession case, you will need nitrile gloves, an outer garment and an N95 mask.

Author: Keith Graves
Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary's College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.

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