BLOOMINGTON — A brand new synthetic drug is being blamed for more than 50 deaths in just a couple of months, including two here in Indiana.
Now police are warning about this substance that right now, although very dangerous, is perfectly legal.
On Friday, Aug. 19, a mother in Bloomington found her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend, both in their 20’s, dead of an overdose in their Colonial Crest apartment. When police arrived, they discovered something else.
The drug that killed the couple wasn’t heroin. It wasn’t meth. It wasn’t anything they’d seen before.
And it terrified them.
“It’s definitely new to us and it looks like from our research, it’s pretty new to the United States,” said Bloomington Police Capt. Steve Kellams.
Police found out what it was from packaging and shipping labels that were near the bodies in that Bloomington apartment.
A quick Google search showed them a man-made chemical cocktail sold online. It has no street name, just a number: U-47700.
It was found it all over the internet.
The synthetic drug is an opiod that can be injected, snorted or taken orally. It’s eight times more powerful than morphine. It’s cheap. It’s easy to get and, incredibly, this dangerous drug is perfectly legal.
Some websites offer it for around $39, delivered right to your door.
“Bathroom scientists, chemists, are throwing together these drugs. They don’t know what it does to anybody. That’s the real danger,” Kellams said, “and then they go out and people start taking it. And they start dying from it.”
At least 50 deaths are already blamed on U-47700 nationwide.
Even though the drug’s labeled “not for human consumption” or on one particular website “don’t for human use,” addicts are using it.
They’re also getting killed.
“You take someone who’s already got an addiction problem and you give them an inexpensive drug that’s readily available and some would say legal, and that can cause catastrophic results,” said Heartland Intervention addiction counselor Scott J. Watson. “One of the things that makes it dangerous is we don’t know a lot about it and what we do know is not good.”
Several states, including Ohio, Iowa, Wyoming and Georgia, have issued emergency bans, according to the Associated Press, making it illegal to use or sell the drug. Police would like to see that in Indiana, too, just like lawmakers took action against spice and bath salts.
For now, investigators are putting out a warning: this stuff is not safe and it’s already killing Hoosiers.
“These types of drugs are deadly,” Kellams said. “Stay away from them. Don’t use them.”