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DEA warns about new deadly synthetic drug

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 00:18:11-05

The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning residents about a new synthetic drug -- responsible for killing three people in Maricopa County. It's a synthetic opioid, officially called U-47700 -- but known on the streets as "U-4," and "pink."

Acting Assistant Special Agent of the Nogales District Office of the DEA Christopher Adduci explained this drug is powerful.

""Death," he said, is a possibility for people who take this drug. "Death. It's dangerous."

The drug comes in a powder, and only takes a small dose to induce similar euphoric effects like heroin. Adduci explained, "its seven times more powerful than morphine."

"Anybody can get a hold of it. You could have some of it spill on your counter," he said. "You can absorb it into your skin. It's deadly."

One of the things that worries him the most about this drug: how accessible it is. He explained people can buy it on the Internet for around $35 -- cheaper than many over the counter medications.

"As a parent, your kid could be sitting on the couch with you watching TV one night," Adduci said. "And next thing you know, he's punching up an order on the Internet for the drugs, it's easily obtained."

The drug hasn't made it's way to Pima County at this point, he says. However, he explained the DEA is trying to get ahead of the curve before it does -- which can be difficult when it comes to dealing with new designer drugs.

"This is new to us, just like Fentanyl was when it came," he said. "It's a matter of time before we can -- not before we can do anything about it -- but before we know what we're dealing with."