Law enforcement officials and health officials in Ohio, Georgia, and most other states in the country are spreading information about the emergence of a new highly addictive and incredibly dangerous drug cocktail referred to as Gray Death.
First gaining notoriety in 2016 when a version of this drug compound was found in Prince’s body after his death, Gray Death has been responsible for a wave of deaths around the country since it first emerged. Comprised of three separate opiates and laced with either fentanyl or heroin, this is quickly becoming the drug of choice for both heroin addicts and opiate addicts. Its name derives from the fact that the compound highly resembles powdered cement mix in both color and texture, in its most common form.
Public officials report that they have never before encountered a compound like this in the illegal drug market. The cocktail combines multiple types of powerful drugs, most of which are highly dangerous, potentially even lethal, individually. Combined they form one of the most dangerous drugs that health or law enforcement officials have ever seen.
The emergence of this drug is particularly concerning at a time when drug deaths from heroin have spiked sharply. In Ohio, for example, drug deaths are up over 70% since 2011. And this increase in drug deaths doesn’t even take into account Gray Death. Preliminary findings suggest that Gray Death may be responsible for a majority of the overdose deaths in 2017 in both Ohio and Georgia, though exact numbers won’t be known until lab tests have been confirmed and data collated.
At this point officials are simply trying to get the word out, both to law enforcement, and to the public in general, about how dangerous Gray Death is. Information from the drug community suggests that, counter to expectations, neither the texture of the drug nor the gray color is deterring use of the drug. People who use the drug are so deep into addiction that they simply don’t care about the aesthetics of the drug. It is hoped that if they are warned of the lethality, some addicts will avoid the drug, or maybe friends and family will keep them away from it.
According to Lorain County Ohio Detective Jim Larkin “It’s amazing to me that they find out one of their friends died from an overdose from the drug and they immediately try to find out where he got it from because they want to try it too.”
Other than spreading the word of its existence, law enforcement and health officials are simply trying to gather as much information about it as possible. While it first made an appearance in southern states, it has since spread around the country quite quickly. Law enforcement have made multiple arrests of people selling it, though there is no consistent source for the drug. For example, in Ohio, one bust discovered Gray Death that appeared to have been sourced locally and also uncovered a shipment of the drug that came from Hong Kong.
Synthetic and designer drugs are a well known and growing problem throughout the country. Gray Death is just an extreme example of this problem because the cocktail combines so many powerfully addictive drugs, particularly heroin, use of which has been on the rise in recent years. The only positive news is that the drug is specifically designed to appeal to people who are already heavily addicted to either heroin or opiates, which means it isn’t a gateway drug. However, it is highly likely to result in a continuing increase in heroin and opiate related deaths throughout the country.
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