The DEA has recently added the synthetic opiate U-47700 to the Schedule 1 controlled substances list. With the majority of these new synthetic killers coming from overseas labs, the DEA sees this move as a way of combating the growing opiate abuse problem all parts of America have been facing. U-47700 is responsible for over 46 confirmed deaths this year alone; so, it’s no wonder why the DEA is trying all of its options to help win the fight against these synthetic opiates.
The new scheduling went into effect November 14th of this year and will last for a period of 24 months, with a 12-month extension being granted if the DEA deems it necessary. The DEA believes this schedule change is one of its major tools in progressively helping stop the drug from killing more people.
The DEA states that most users are taking U-47700 unknowingly, purchasing it from dealers who are marketing it as heroin, or cutting their actual product with it. It has also been found in a lot of counterfeit pharmaceutical medications, as it can be pressed into pill form to resemble any number of opiate prescription medications. U-47700 is responsible for 31 deaths in New York, and 10 or more in North Carolina. In an 11-month time frame, the DEA had received 88 reports from forensic labs across the country confirming U-47700 being present in these cases and drug analysis cases as well.
You can view the DEA’s Final Order in the Federal Registry and it outlines the purpose of this action and also explains what threats it has, and can bring to public health.
It’s not only being found on the streets. U-47700 can be sourced from Dark Net vendors as well. From the beginning of 2016, reports came flying in of Dark Net vendors being busted for trafficking this, and other synthetic opiates. Earlier this year, a street level drug ring was busted with almost 3 kilos of the synthetic opiate Fentanyl which Connecticut police say were sourced from Dark Net Markets.
Only a few months ago, a vendor on the DMN Alphabay, known as owlcity, was busted selling synthetic opiates to undercover officers. The rise of instances like these led one Dark Net marketplace to ban the sale of Fentanyl all together. An article written earlier this year, stated that Philadelphia, Pa. saw a 632% increase in overdose deaths directly attributed to synthetic opiate use.
Users of the Dark Net markets were also urged to proceed with caution after three separate heroin samples that were sent from Europe were tested, and deemed to be either cut with, or entirely synthetic all together. Last year in April, a Belgium man overdosed and died after taking what he was under the impression was heroin; but tests of the drug actually revealed it to be another synthetic opiate.
Also among those who tested some samples was the British Harm Reduction Project, Wedinos. The group tested six different samples being sold on the DNMs as heroin. They found that all six were in fact synthetic product being marketed to users as heroin. This is one of the largest contributing factors to heroin users overdosing. The user is totally unaware that the heroin they just bought contains anything else. Vendors are marketing their product as 100% pure, China White, and other descriptions.
An International Drug Testing Service is offered by Energy Control who says the only way to test these synthetic opiates for purity, is to send in samples for lab analysis.