New drug known as 'gray death' shows up on DEA radar

New drug known as 'gray death' shows up on DEA radar

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A new and even more potent compound drug is on the street. This one is known as "gray death."

"It's a combination of fentanyl, U-47700 or 'pink,' and heroin. It's basically a cocktail," according to DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Azzam.

He says U-47700 is a new synthetic drug and is considered one of the most dangerous opioids.

"Whatever that chemist wants to make, that's what they'll put in it. So, as a user, you'll have no idea what you're using," Azzam said.

Gray death looks a lot like concrete mixing power and varies in texture from a gray rock to fine, loose sand. While the DEA says the drug has not popped up in New Orleans, it's already affecting people in the Gulf region.

"We've had a couple of cases in Mobile, Alabama. Georgia has been hit with this. I do fear that it will enter through the New Orleans area," Azzam said.

Law enforcement and health care officials are already dealing with an opioid epidemic across the country. More people have died this year in New Orleans from opiate overdoses than homicides.

"I'm concerned about what the 2017 numbers are really going to look like, especially if some of the other drugs that are out there that scare the pants off of anybody in this business really start getting into the mix," said Orleans Parish Coroner Jeffrey Rouse.

"It's a dangerous road. It's a dangerous path to go down," Azzam said.

Azzam said it's important to inform the public about the dangers of this drug now, because once it's here, it may be too late.

"Law enforcement will figure it out when there's 20 to 30 overdoses in a very short period of time," Azzam said.

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