U-47700 Opioid Drug Responsible for 3 Deaths in Wisconsin
U-47700 is a legal synthetic opioid believed responsible for as many as 50 deaths across the country. Recently, it has caused two overdose deaths in Racine County, Wisconsin. There’s also an additional death reported in a nearby county.
The deaths are reportedly under investigation by the Metro Drug Unit, Special Investigations Unit, and Gang Task Force.
According to Racine County Medical Examiner Michael Payne, both of the deaths involved men. They are still awaiting the final autopsy reports, but the cause of death has been confirmed.
At this time, Wisconsin law enforcement is working hard in attempt to get the drug added to the state’s list of controlled substances – thereby making it illegal. Unfortunately, the drug is so new that there hasn’t been enough time to work on the legal aspects surrounding its use.
Most synthetic opioids are already illegal, classified as controlled substances. However, the chemical makeup of U-47700 is slightly different from those opioids, and thus, the specific formula has not yet been made illegal. The original U-47700 drug was developed in the 1970’s.
Robert Bell, Drug Enforcement Administration:
“Synthetic opioid substances like U-47700 are very concerning because they are so potent, addictive and dangerous. Abusing these types of powerful opioid substances could be very damaging — the results could be deadly.”
“Experimenting with them is like playing Russian roulette. You don’t know what you’re getting and the first time could be the last time.”
As with all opioids, U-47700 works by repressing the body’s central nervous system. This action may hinder breathing, to the point of respiratory arrest. That’s how an overdose occurs.
There is no question about the drug’s potency – it’s at least eight times more powerful than morphine.
At that, it’s certainly no fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine, but because the drug is legal and obtainable on the internet, persons ordering the drug may think it’s safer than it is. Thus, there is a great potential for overuse and overdose.
Also, unregulated drugs can contain anything. It’s not uncommon for persons to believe they are getting just one substance when in reality it’s being combined with another.
At least four other states, including Kansas, Ohio, Wyoming and Georgia have already initiated action to ban the drug.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology