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State agencies warn of 'pink' synthetic opioid drug threat

July 17, 2017

(KCCI - TV Des Moines)

The Iowa Department of Public Health, Department of Public Safety, Poison Control Center and Office of Drug Control policy issued an advisory Monday to warn Iowans of a new synthetic opioid drug threat recently discovered in Iowa.

The fake pain pills have been confirmed by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s laboratory. Upon analysis in each case, pills made to resemble the prescription pain reliever oxycodone were found to contain more powerful and illicit synthetic opioids fentanyl and U-47700.

Illicit synthetic opioids, such as U-47700 (aka “pink”) and other fentanyl analogs, are most often mixed in powder form with heroin. First identified in Iowa about two years ago, reports of these newer drugs and related overdoses have increased rapidly. Reports of counterfeit pain pills containing these more potent drugs began surfacing in other parts of the U.S. last year.

The Iowa Poison Control Center advises hospital and emergency medical service personnel to treat a synthetic opioid overdose the same as that of any other opioid overdose: maintain airway and ventilation; and know that larger than normal doses of naloxone (3-4 mg or more) may be needed to reverse the respiratory depressant effects of fentanyl, fentanyl derivatives and U-47700. All Iowans with questions about synthetic opioids can contact the Iowa Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or http://www.iowapoison.org.

A DEA law enforcement and public safety warning video can be viewed at http://go.usa.gov/chBWW. Additional information about fentanyl analogs is available at http://pub.lucidpress.com/NDEWSFentanyl.

Additionally, Iowa’s DCI lab recently identified illicit synthetic opioids (fentanyl analogs) mixed with a synthetic cannabinoid, illustrating the potential danger of synthetic drug cocktails.

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