Pink is a drug that is already popping up in the news because of its devastating and potentially deadly effects. In September of this year, two 13-year-old boys from Park City, Utah died within 48 hours of each other. The synthetic opioid, Pink, was delivered to their homes by U.S. mail and done so legally. Investigators discovered that teens from the area were discussing the drug on Snapchat and other social media networks prior to the boys’ deaths.
What is Pink?
Pink is known to chemists as U-47700, and it’s eight times stronger than heroin. It’s a synthetic opioid that is similar to carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl and ifentanyl. All of these synthetic drugs are stronger and more powerful than heroin, and they are often mixed with other drugs or alcohol to create more profound effects. Drugs like Pink are killing people across the country and have become a serious public health concern.
Isn’t it Illegal?
At this time, only four states have made Pink illegal. It can be purchased online and delivered legally to the home because it is made from compounds found in laboratories. These compounds are not meant for human consumption, however.
Keeping Pink out of people’s hands – at least right now – poses a challenge. What health officials hope to do in the meantime is spread the word about just how dangerous Pink is. It’s estimated that 80 Pink deaths have occurred across the country in just nine months. That number is probably even higher because of the various synthetics on the market that can be difficult to separate from each other, as well as delays in toxicology reports.
What is Being Done to Fix the Problem?
On September 7, the DEA took initial steps to make Pink illegal in all 50 states. The DEA gave notice that it will be scheduling Pink temporarily as a Schedule I substance. Of course, not all states are waiting for the federal ban. Florida, Ohio, Wyoming and Georgia are four states that have banned Pink, and other states are looking to follow.
Pink has similar challenges to other synthetic drugs, however. Law enforcement is just becoming aware of it, and it takes time to uncover what the structure of the drug is. By the time that it is discovered, illegal drug manufactures are usually on to other variants.
The first step in this process is to place temporary bans on certain compounds, as is the case with U-47700. The ban gives the DEA three years to research the compound and decide if it should be controlled or not.
Prevention Starts at Home
As always, prevention starts at the home. Talk to loved ones about the dangers of synthetic drugs. If you have young kids or teens in the home, monitor their screen time. Know what they’re doing online and on social media, and be aware of who they’re hanging out with. Educate yourself on the signs of drug abuse, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help from a treatment center such as The River Source.