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Activists Warn New Opioid Drug ‘Gray Death’ Is Deadly


Photo: Thomas Marthinsen (Flickr)

The drug known as "Grey Death" is a mixture of heroin and various synthetic opioids.

Indiana officials are warning the public that a dangerous drug called Gray Death has begun circulating in the state.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security said Thursday that Gray Death is a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other synthetic opioids.

Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizer for elephants and other large mammals and is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Fentanyl has been linked to a rise in overdoses in Indiana and surrounding states.

Overdose Lifeline Executive Director Justin Phillips says the emergence of this drug is due to the increasing popularity of the powerful synthetic heroin derivatives.

“The drug cartel knows that, therefore they continue to mix it with stronger stuff because they know that people will want it,” she says.

But Phillips warns users that the new drug is deadly. Naloxone, the drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is far less effective with stronger opioids like Gray Death.

“There are some reports that naloxone is effective with this combination, but that it’s requiring a half a dozen or more doses,” Phillips says.

Gray Death is already being blamed for at least one overdose death in central Indiana.

This story has been updated.

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