We’ve Got Your Back: Emerging drug responsible for overdose deaths in Kansas

(File photo - AP)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is warning Kansans about a new growing drug that has been responsible for a number of overdose deaths within the past month. And as of right now, it’s legal.

The drug is U-47700. It’s a synthetic opioid that’s 8 times more powerful than morphine and it’s a growing problem in the state.

The KBI says opioids, including pain relievers and heroin, remain the driving factor behind the drug epidemic. This drug is a hybrid of sorts that is already responsible for two deaths in Olathe.

Valeo Recovery Center’s Brad Sloan says that opioid use has been a rising problem in Shawnee County. “We’ve seen an increase in opioid use in the last few years,” he says. “When these drugs are mixed, it does make them more powerful than what people would be normally use to using.”

The drug can cause skin irritation or breathing problems if it’s inhaled or absorbed through a person’s skin. Other states have already undergone procedures to make distribution, possession and consumption of the drug illegal.

It can be obtained in different ways, including the internet. Parents should watch out for of packages or  overseas mailing labels and it’s also found in zip lock bags and vials that say “Not For Consumption.”

This is the KBI’s full release:

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is warning the public of a rapidly emerging drug threat that is believed to have contributed to a number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Kansas within the past month. KBI says the drug, “U-47700”, has no accepted medical use and poses a risk to Kansas citizens.

Across the country, opioids, including prescription pain relievers and heroin, remain the driving factor behind the drug overdose epidemic. U-47700 is a synthetic opioid analgesic drug that is reportedly nearly eight times more potent than morphine. It may cause eye, skin, or respiratory system irritation and is harmful if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. U-47700 produces strong effects including sedation and respiratory depression which could be harmful or fatal.

Although U-47700 is not currently controlled in Kansas, contact with or use of this substance is strongly discouraged. It can be obtained from a variety of sources, including the internet, and is available in various forms. Parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to be watchful of packages and mailing labels that indicate shipments from overseas, particularly China. This substance is often sold in containers – vials or plastic zippered baggies – that are labeled “Not for Human Consumption” or “For Research Purposes Only”. This is a tactic frequently utilized by manufacturers of illegal drugs; unknown substances with these marking should be considered suspicious.

The public should be advised of the potential serious harm resulting from exposure to U-47700. If you or someone you know is suspected of ingesting U-47700, seek medical attention immediately.

 

Ohio, Wyoming, and Georgia have recently undergone procedures for emergency scheduling of U-47700 in order to make consumption, possession, and distribution illegal. In recognition of the rapidly emerging drug threat U-47700 poses to Kansas citizens, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is actively working with the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and a number of affected jurisdictions to initiate the procedure for emergency scheduling of U-47700 in Kansas

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