The opioid epidemic has been a major problem in the United States for the past few decades. What started as a significant increase in doctors prescribing painkillers has turned into a mess of patients becoming addicted to opioids and using them illegally.1 Many people were not aware that prescription opioids could be so addictive, and not enough of them got formal addiction treatment to stop. As a result, some of these people started to turn to stronger and more potent drugs. In more recent years, synthetic opioids have been leading the charge, including the pink drug.
What Is the Pink Drug?
The synthetic opioid U-47700 is a pink powder drug that is highly potent and addictive. Because of its distinctive color, it is more commonly called pink. It typically comes in the form of a powder that is snorted or injected, but it can also come in tablet form. Like fentanyl, which is rising in popularity, U-47700 is far more potent than morphine, making it far more deadly as well.2
Side effects of U-47700 can include:
- Intense itchiness
- Noticeable mood changes
- Difficulty breathing
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Overdose and death
Substance use disorder for any substance presents risks to the person using it, but this drug holds a lot of danger.
The Dangers of the Pink Drug
The effects of the pink drug can be deadly. In 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classified U-47700 as a Schedule I drug because of its high propensity for abuse and lack of approved medical use.2 The FDA has also never approved this drug for human consumption.3 Even with these restrictions, people have been able to get a hold of this drug, but at times the consequences have been fatal.
The pink drug effects are like that of heroin and other opioids, but because of its high potency, the effects are much stronger. For this reason, people only need to take a small dose to feel the same effects as they would with weaker opioids. Due to its high potency and the fact that not everyone is aware of how strong this opioid is, pink is known to lead to overdose. Signs of a U-47700 overdose can include repressed breathing and loss of consciousness.
Another big danger of pink is that people might be taking this drug without realizing it. In some cases, U-47700 has been found in tablet form meant to mimic prescription opioids. In other cases, the powder was distributed like heroin. Thinking they are taking these other drugs, people will unknowingly administer pink and overdose because of its stronger potency. From 2015 to 2016, pink was linked to at least 46 confirmed deaths.2 Since that time, the opioid epidemic has not shown any signs of slowing down any time soon. With the number of people using synthetic opioids rising, there are likely to be many pink-drug-related deaths to come.
Common Reasons for Drug Abuse
When a person makes a choice to abuse a substance like the pink drug, there could be a slew of reasons that contribute to this.
Possible causes of drug abuse can include:
- Peer pressure
- Loss of a relationship
- Educational pressure
- Performance enhancement
- Unaddressed mental illness
The last factor - mental illness - is particularly poignant and something that our Palm Beach rehab works to address daily. It highlights the very real connection between mental illness and addiction, leaving many to wonder why they keep falling victim to relapse despite seeking out help. For true healing to occur, all facets of a person’s mental health need to be addressed comprehensively. Otherwise, they run the risk of falling victim to their co-occurring disorders.
Luckily, Banyan Boca mental health offers treatment programs that can help those struggling come to terms with their symptoms so that they do not need to rely on a dangerous substance to cope. We want to help each patient learn how to prioritize their mental health so that they can avoid the additional challenges associated with drug and alcohol abuse.
- CDC - Understanding the Epidemic
- NIH - DEA Temporarily Bans Synthetic Opioid U-47700 ("Pink"), Linked to Nearly 50 Deaths
- DEA - Schedules of Controlled Substances