3 Things to Know About the Dangerous Synthetic Drug U-47700

NOVEMBER 16, 2016
The synthetic drug U-47700 is dangerous and is considered a major threat to public health and safety. This substance was part of the cocktail of drugs that killed the famous singer Prince. These 3 important facts will provide you with pertinent information about the hazards of this drug.

1. Now a Schedule I Controlled Substance

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed the research chemical U-47700 temporarily into Schedule I of the Federal Controlled Substances Act effective November 14, 2016.1 This substance is also known by the street name “pink” or “pinky.” The scheduling will last for 24 months, with a possible 12-month extension if the DEA needs more research to determine whether it should be permanently scheduled.1 Schedule I substances have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the United States. States such as Florida have recently created laws making U-47700 illegal. With the DEA’s new scheduling, U-47700 will now be illegal, at least temporarily, in all states.
 
2. U-47700 has a high potential for abuse

Research suggests that abuse of U-47700 is similar to heroin, prescription opioid pain medications, and other novel opioids.1 The drug has been found in powder form and in counterfeit tablets that resemble pharmaceutical opioids.2 Additionally, it has been found in combination with other substances including heroin and fentanyl. The DEA has utilized data from the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) to monitor the drug trends of U-47700.1 Also, the DEA has received reports through the NFLIS from 2015 to 2016 of at least 46 deaths associated with U-47700 (See Table).1 This substance is being manufactured in illicit labs and is being distributed online and through drug dealers. The most dangerous part is that the identity, purity, and quantity are unknown, which creates a Russian Roulette situation for individuals abusing U-47700.2 Adverse effects include numbness, sedation, respiratory depression, and death.
 
TABLE: FATALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH U-477001
State Deaths
New Hampshire 1
New York 31
North Carolina 10
Ohio 1
Texas 2
Wisconsin 1
Total 46
 
3. Pharmacists can educate patients on the dangers of counterfeit drugs

Pharmacists can educate patients and the community about the dangers of abusing U-47700 and other synthetic drugs. Educating the youth is also extremely important to prevent drug abuse and diversion. When conducting medication therapy management and other counseling sessions, it’s important to inquire about the use of synthetic drugs. This is especially important for patients taking prescription opioid medications because the combination with U-47700 is extremely dangerous due to the risk of overdose. The counterfeit pill market has become a huge problem in the United States and has caused the number of overdoses and deaths to increase drastically.3 Unfortunately, the state prescription drug monitoring programs that are used to track prescription controlled substances are unable to monitor these illicit substances. Therefore, it’s important to discuss the dangers of using counterfeit drugs.
 
References
  1. Federal Register. Schedules of controlled substances: Temporary placement of U-47700 into Schedule I. Federal Register website. s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-27357.pdf. Accessed November 11, 2016.
  2. Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA schedules deadly synthetic drug U-47700. DEA website. dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq111016.shtml. Accessed November 11, 2016.
  3. Drug Enforcement Administration. Counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyls: A global threat. DEA website. dea.gov/docs/Counterfeit%20Prescription%20Pills.pdf. Accessed November 11, 2016.The synthetic drug U-47700 is dangerous and is considered a major threat to public health and safety. This substance was part of the cocktail of drugs that killed the famous singer Prince. These 3 important facts will provide you with pertinent information about the hazards of this drug.


Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2
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