A powerful drug that has made an appearance in both St. Clair and Washington has not yet been found in Union, said Police Chief Norman Brune.

According to a fact sheet provided by the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit (MCNVCEU), the synthetic opioid U-47700, also known as “Pink,” “Pinky” or “U4,” has been linked to multiple deaths nationally.

It is believed to have contributed to the deaths of a St. Clair couple last month. That case was the first known use of U-47700 in the area, Sgt. Scott Reed, commander of the MCNVCEU told The Missourian.

It was found in two separate arrests in Washington last week, officials there said.

The drug appears most typically as a white or light pinkish, chalky powder. In Ohio, authorities seized pills resembling a manufacturer’s oxycodone tablets, but they were confirmed to contain the synthetic drug.

The MCNVCEU said use of the substance may occur unknown to the user, as it may be found in combination with other drugs, such as heroin or fentanyl.

Importation into the United States is primarily from “clandestine chemical labs in China,” the MCNVCEU said.

Brune said officers are trained to handle all foreign substances with caution.

“It’s a matter of protecting our skin and making sure we don’t breathe in any type of dust or powder,” Brune said. “This applies to any material we’re handling.”