Ingredient in deadly ‘Gray Death’ drug still legal in most states

The drug "gray death" lies in a dish at the crime lab of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations in Decatur, Ga., on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The new and dangerous opioid combo underscores the ever-changing nature of the U.S. addictions epidemic. Investigators who nicknamed the mixture have detected it or recorded overdoses blamed on it in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s a dangerous combination of opioids that’s deadly to the touch. And one of the ingredients in this deadly cocktail is still legal throughout most of the country, News Channel 8 has learned.

We first told you about Gray Death last week. The lethal cocktail is a combination of three drugs, and one of them is nearly ten times more potent than heroin.

It’s called U-47700. The powerful drug originated as a legal drug back in the 1970’s and is supposedly more potent than morphine, but less addictive.

The drug is banned here in Florida, and in three other states, but doctors are writing legal prescriptions 46 states.

Like bath salts and ecstasy, it’s a designer drug that is shipped to destinations all across the country from locations within the United States.

“Losing a child is the hardest and most painful thing a mother can go through,” said Mary Lenz, who knows how heart-breaking it can be to lose a child to a drug overdose.

Lenz of New Port Richey, lost her daughter to the drug known on the street as “Pink,” and it’s eight times stronger than heroin.

The mother was confident her daughter was not an addict. “No, not an addict at all,” she said. “She was a legitimate pain patient. She had kidney disease.”

Eventually, Lenz’s 29-year-old daughter, Stephani, couldn’t get any more pain prescriptions.

“And she was desperate for pain relief,” Lenz told News Channel 8.

So Stephani searched the Internet and after her second order on Thanksgiving Day 2016, Stephani would die of an overdose.

“I had actually just received the autopsy report a few days before News Channel 8’s report on the Gray Death,” Lenz said, after watching our first report on Gray Death last week.

“Pink” is one of three major components of Gray Death, a heroin-based drug that looks like concrete and mixes multiple opioids.

Only four states have made “Pink” illegal.

Still, that doesn’t stop people from legally ordering it online. Some websites sell it for as little as $5.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, at least 15 people have died from it, although they believe that number is on the lower end of the spectrum.

When U-47700 was finally classified as a controlled substance in September, four states outlawed the drug.

Mary Lenz, says she begged her daughter not to take it, but sadly, those pleas fell on deaf ears.

“I have to tell my daughter’s story because if I can save one child’s life, one mother’s grief,” Lenz said. “Everybody out there. Don’t touch it. It is bad news.”

The DEA has placed a ban on “Pink,” that allows them three years to do research and figure out what will happen next.

In the meantime, though, the death toll continues to rise.

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