(CBS) – A combination of the deadliest opioids known as “Gray Death” is claiming lives in other parts of the country and could be headed here, a Chicago area coroner is warning.
Gray Death is a mix of several opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil — a drug used to tranquilize large animals like elephants – and synthetic drug U-47700. The combined drug can vary in consistency from dried chunks resembling concrete to fine powder.
“It has been difficult enough to warn citizens of pure heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and other opiates. Now all of these substances, and more, are being combined together and used at an alarming rate and people are dying because of it,” Kane County Coroner Rob Russell said in a news release. “In addition, because these strong drugs can be absorbed through the skin, simply touching the powder puts users, and First Responders, at risk.”
Russell says there is no indication Gray Death is being dealt in the Chicago region, but it’s been a problem in states like Ohio and Kentucky. He says he wants to stay ahead of the curve and warn the public about the drug’s danger.
Chicago authorities for several months have noted an increase in heroin-related deaths, including overdoses related to fentanyl-spiked heroin.