The opioid crisis just got crazier as Gray Death has now hit the streets.
Let’s recap what we’ve been seeing first. Fentanyl, the strongest opioid on the market, is 30-50 times more potent than heroin and 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Its use has skyrocketed over the last few years.
Then we were told that many are using an elephant tranquilizer, carfentanil, as part of their opioid habit. Carfentanil is 100 times more potent than Fentanyl.
Combining these two potentially lethal opiates would put someone at catastrophic risk of overdosing. Top this off with U-47700, an opiate known on the street as “Pink” or “U4” makes one of the deadliest cocktails out there.
The Gray Death cocktail combines all three and costs $10-20. It looks like concrete mix and comes in hard or fine powder. Its so potent that it can even be absorbed through the skin. Its the latest of cocktails that have flooded the opiate street market, competing with others that combine powerful opiates with cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
Narcan, generic naloxone, the antidote for opioid overdose, may not be enough to combat the overwhelming suppressive effects the narcotic causes on the respiratory system. And one naltrexone dose may wear off long before the narcotic metabolizes, decreasing its half life. Hospitals and emergency rooms already have their hands full with the thousands of opiate overdoses as it is. The CDC reports that in 2015 alone, 33,000 people lost their lives to opioid overdoses.
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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician