What Is Gray Death? New, Deadly Opioid Cocktail
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: May 17, 2017

What is gray death? It is a new, deadly designer drug in town and it’s street name is no stretch– a single dose of this gray colored substance can be deadly. The drug has been popping up all over the states and is contributing to the already rising opioid epidemic.

The Origins of Gray Death

In recent years, increasingly severe warnings have been issued about the appearance of synthetic narcotics in the United States. The lethal drugs exacerbate the already deadly opioid epidemic ravaging the country. In December, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warned that “illicit fentanyl, manufactured in foreign countries and then smuggled into the United States, is a rising factor in the current overdose epidemic. It is usually mixed into heroin products or pressed into counterfeit prescription pills, sometimes without the users’ awareness, which often leads to overdose.” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart described the potency of fentanyl as “up to 100 times more powerful than morphine and 30–50 times more powerful than heroin.” Unfortunately, that is not even the most dangerous drug out there. A synthetic opioid called carfentanil is “surfacing in more and more communities,” reported DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg in 2016. The elephant tranquilizer is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. These substances are so dangerous that first responders are advised to avoid any direct contact as the powdery drugs can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled.

Gray Death: A Deadly Mixture Of Already Killer Drugs

Now something dubbed “gray death” has arrived on the streets of America. It is hard to believe, but this substance is a combination of the aforementioned killer drugs. In addition to containing heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, a synthetic opioid called U-47700 is sometimes mixed in as well. According to the Associated Press, investigators detected gray death or “recorded overdoses blamed on it in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio. The drug looks like concrete mix and varies in consistency from a hard, chunky material to a fine powder.” Any direct contact with this poisonous substance should definitely be avoided.

“Gray death is one of the scariest combinations that I have ever seen in nearly 20 years of forensic chemistry drug analysis,”

– Deneen Kilcrease, Georgia Bureau of Investigation

“We’ve not yet seen a national proliferation of the ‘gray death’ substance,” DEA spokesman Russ Baer told NBC News. “It’s mad science, and the guinea pigs are the American public,” Baer said. “The ingredients come from abroad, but this is made in America.” Since gray death has been detected in Georgia, the fear is that it might come to Florida next. It could be there already. Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told a local CBS affiliate he is preparing to battle the new drug. “My prayer is that we never see it here; my expectation is the likelihood is we will see it here in Martin County,” Sheriff Snyder said.