A dangerous synthetic opioid pain medication has made its way to Washington.
Based on tests, Washington police said the U-47700 is in the area. Washington Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said it was the first time police have found the drug in the city.
Sitzes said the drug was found in two separate arrests last week. It was taken to the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit to be tested.
“We have at least two confirmed cases in the Washington area in the last week,” Sitzes said.
U-47700, also called pink, is a designer drug that has been linked to as many as 46 deaths between 2015-16, according to Drug Enforcement Agency data provided to Washington police.
U-47700 is about eight times stronger than morphine. It is often mixed with fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin.
“It’s some powerful (stuff),” Sitzes said. “It made us go to some different precautions when hand-ling. We have to make sure we’re gloved up, because any inhalation or absorption through the skin could be fatal.”
St. Clair Deaths
The drug is believed to have contributed to an overdose of a St. Clair couple last month.
U-47700 was identified as an ingredient of a synthetic heroin cocktail that authorities suspect killed two peopled at their home in late September. At the time of the deaths, St. Clair Police Chief Bill Hammack said a powder substance was found inside the residence.
Sgt. Scott Reed, commander of the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit, said tests indicate the drug mixture involved in the couple’s death included U-47700. At the time, Reed said it was the first case of U-47700 being found in the area.