It is a known fact that drug users and manufacturers mix different kinds of drugs in order to achieve a more potent drug to use or sell. One of these mixed drugs is what many call the “gray death”. What is it made of? How does it affect your body? If you are looking for answers and general information about this drug, then this article is all you need.
Defining Gray Death
The name gray death is the name given to a street drug that popped up in Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, and Indiana back in 2016 and 2017. It contained a mixture of opioid substances like fentanyl, heroin, and U-47700 or what they refer to as “pink”. Users called this drug by its name because the combinations are strong enough to cause immediate death not only to the user but to anyone who touches it.
The chemical component of gray death varies from batch to batch which makes it even more dangerous. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that Gray Death is not a single drug but contains many different potent opioids. It is believed that this drug is the combination of whatever the drug dealer has on hand or can be a toxic combination of drugs like:
- U-47700 (commonly known as pink)
- Other unidentified drugs or unnamed opioids
The name of the drug comes from its color, gray which is often compared to the color of cement or concrete. This also comes in different textures, sizes and can appear in chunks or gray powder. It is also called gray death due to its potency that even a minute contact with the drug can cause serious health problems or worse – immediate overdose.
Many experts are still struggling to understand what the effects of this drug are and what it is exactly. However, they believe that this first came out in 2012 but was in a different formulation than the ones recently discovered. One of the scariest things about this drug is that the formula itself varies from one batch to another. In fact, samples gathered in the streets of Georgia in the first half of 2017 showed different variations. This is also the reason why the experts studying this drug are baffled by its contents as well as appearance. They cannot explain how the drug was able to obtain its deathly gray color.
Gray Death Gaining Popularity Among Users
Despite its danger, gray death is surprisingly gaining popularity in the streets. Since it is powerful and cheap, this drug can be sold for as little as $10 and many manufacturers can make it with whatever ingredients they have; that’s one quick way to make money.
Another reason why gray death is becoming popular is that foreign manufacturers can quickly evade the US drug laws by simply changing their formulation. They can make it fast and send them as quickly as possible. This is also the reason why gray death tends to get more and more potent, thanks to the ever-changing components done by many manufacturers. Despite the dangers it poses, many opioid addicts are still enticed to use this drug mainly because of its ability to produce a high that is unlike any other. Unfortunately, this can also turn deadly real quick if the user is not careful.
Side Effects of Gray Death
It can be consumed through the most typical drug routes. A user can inject the drug, smoke it, snort it, and even consume it orally. However, there are serious side effects when this is consumed. The main goal is to gain the euphoric effects of opiates but there are also lethal and depressive effects that could take over fast if the user is not careful. Among the common side effects of gray death include:
- Cold clammy skin
- Heart failure
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pinpoint pupils
- Shallow breathing
If the person shows these signs, it’s best to call emergency services immediately. These are the signs of an opioid overdose:
- Bluish tint on the skin
- Clammy skin
- Excessive sweating
- Lowered body temperature
- Pinpoint pupils
- Unresponsiveness or loss of consciousness
In some cases, reports have been noted that gray death could be resistant to naloxone (Narcan) which is why it is important to call emergency personnel right away. Most people who are affected by this drug are those who consume gray death and ones that are addicted to opioids. Not only that, those who treat the victims can also become victims of gray death if they do not handle the drug carefully.
First responders like law enforcement officers and EMTs are the ones most at risk if they ever come into contact with it. It. Since gray death is synthetic opioids, they can be easily absorbed through the skin or be can inhaled without their knowledge. There have been reports of overdosing on gray death even with minimal contact and so it is crucial that they know what to do with it upon recovery.
Gray Death is a Deadly Drug
Gray death has the potential to be the deadliest drug found in the streets today, thanks to its main components (fentanyl, carfentanil, and U-47700). Since it is done differently per batch, any person can die within minutes upon contact. The overdose cases and fatalities of this drug are also rising however, the exact numbers are impossible to pinpoint. Testing for the presence of gray death may not also be seen especially since synthetic opioids have been added in small doses, the traces cannot be detected when tested.
Fortunately, there are some tools and methods used in reversing heroin overdose. These can be used to reverse a gray death overdose but the process is challenging. Gray death overdose requires multiple doses of naloxone (Narcan), in some cases, 10 doses but it can also be a problem if first responders do not have enough amount of Narcan at hand. In some cases, “naloxone resistance” with gray death is possible, this means that the individual may not be able to survive a gray death overdose even with Narcan available since their body may be resistant to it.
Narcan doses will also not be as effective if non-opioid drugs are in the mixture. This means if the person has amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, cocaines, and other non-opiates combined with gray death in their system then Narcan will not work as first remedy. This is why gray death is considered to be a very potent drug with deadly side effects.
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