Donna Lula, Director of Forensic Chemistry at Cayman Chemical confirmed that the components that make up “Gray Death vary. She was quoted as saying, “You can throw anything in a baggie and call it “Gray Death.” She reportedly told CNN, “It’s going to constantly vary, and it’s going to keep chemists and the medical examiners on their toes.”
Since 2012 the US Drug Enforcement Administration has had reports of a grayish heroin-like substance in multiple regions however, it did not contain the drug U-47700.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been diligently investigating all of the increases in Fentanyl-related non-suicide overdose fatalities across multiple states in the US. Now these agencies will need to expand their efforts to include analog compounds such as
• Alfentanil also known as Alfenta, an ultra-short-acting analgesic.
• Sufentanil also known as Sufenta, a potent analgesic (five to ten times more potent than fentanyl)
• Remifentanil also known as Ultiva, currently the shortest-acting opioid.
• Carfentanil also known as Wildnil is an analog of fentanyl, 10,000 times stronger than morphine.
W-15 and W-18 These are U-opioid agonist with a distinctive chemical structure that does not seem related to any other family of opioid. W-18 is by far the more powerful of the two with bioavailability, half-life, tolerance, 10,000x more powerful than morphine vs. W-15 is 5.4 x stronger.
MT-45, which is about 80%, as strong as morphine.
AH-7921 an opioid analgesic also about 80% the strength of morphine.
U-47700 an opioid analgesic selective for the U-opioid receptor 7.5 times the potency of morphine.
Butyr-fentanyl or butyrylfentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic, an analog of Fentanyl, approximately .25% of the strength of Fentanyl.
Acetylfentanyl an analogue of fentanyl 40 times stronger than heroin, 80 times more potent than morphine, and 15 times less potent than fentanyl.
Designer drugs are structural or functional analogs of controlled substances; they mimic the effects of parent drugs while avoiding detection as illicit or illegal. These drugs are very dangerous. Often these don’t show up on drug tests and can really throw a monkey wrench into research and statistics.
Getting Accurate Reports
When hospitals, emergency departments, medical examiners and coroners have fatal overdoses arrive in their facilities, are they screening for fentanyl in suspected opioid overdose incidents? If they are and the test comes back negative, fentanyl analogs should be suspected and tested for also. This is the only way that reporting as to the cause of death is accurate and complete. This is the only way for officials to get an understanding as to the truth of what is really taking place with the current drug epidemic. No longer is it just heroin that is claiming the lives of opiate users.
Gray death just is one more drug on the list of many that is killing our children. Will this madness ever stop? Only through education, Awareness, and Prevention can we hope to stop this madness. Please spread the word to stay away from illicit drugs. Many, many more people are going to die because of ignorance. Let’s help to stop the madness! Work with law enforcement, educate your families, learn all that you can, push for harsh sentencing for dealers and manufacturers of illicit drugs.
© Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.
- ABC 7 NY. (2017). New ‘Gray Death’ drug can kill with 1 dose, officials say. Retrieved on May 27th, 2017, from: http://abc7ny.com/health/new-gray-death-drug-can-kill-with-1-dose/1982128/
- U.S. News. (2017). ‘Gray Death Causes Worry’. Retrieved on May 27th, 2017, from: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/ohio/articles/2017-05-04/gray-death-dangerous-opioid-combo-is-latest-mixing-trend
- CNN. (2017). ‘Grey Death’: The powerful street drug that’s puzzling authorities. Retrieved on May 27th, from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/12/health/grey-death-opioid-drug/
- FOX NEWS Health. (2017). New ‘gray death’ drug can will with a single dose, authorities warn. Retrieved on May 27th, from: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/05/08/authorities-warn-on-dangerous-new-gray-death-drug-that-can-kill-with-single-dose.html
- Daily News. (2017). Dangerously potent new drug ‘gray death’ baffles authorities. Retrieved on May 27th, 2017, from: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/potent-new-drug-grey-death-baffles-authorities-article-1.3160139
- Pharmacy Times. (2016). 7 Things to Know About Carfentanil. Retrieved on May 28th, 2017, from: http://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/7-things-to-know-about-carfentanil