PHOENIX - A new dangerous drug known as “pink,” or "pinky" on the streets, has been linked to at least four deaths in Arizona.
The Drug Enforcement Agency in Phoenix says you could overdose from the exposure of touching the synthetic opioid.
“Pink is seven times stronger than morphine,” said Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of the DEA in Phoenix.
He says pink, also known as U-47700 or U-4 for short, is a growing concern.
“It kind of ties in with the entire prescription drug abuse issue that we have, and the increase opioid addiction,” he said.
“Addicts are seeking and pursing a better high. The market is being flooded with new drugs to meet that demand,” said Erica Curry, who is also with the DEA.
For many addicts, she said heroin and oxy just aren’t enough, so they’re turning to pink.
“If you touch it, and it dissolves and enters your skin, into your blood stream,” said Coleman.
While it’s so potent you could overdose by touching it, mixed with heroin and injected it can actually stop your breathing and heartbeat.
“It’s called a hot shot when they put too much of the substance in there. It can be instantaneous death,” Coleman said.
In the last year, four people have died of overdoses in Arizona.
While the drug is illegal in all 50 states, it’s not hard to get. It’s easily acquired through websites based in China.
“You could have a kid sitting next to you on his cell phone, 35 bucks for a gram of pink,” said Coleman. “He can order it. Five days later it shows up on your doorstep.”
And how someone takes it determines how fast they get high.
“You can smoke them, you can inject them and you can even eat them,” he said.
Users cut across all groups.
“We see everybody from every class at every age acquiring these substances,” said Coleman.
Pink is on the DEA’s radar.
“Anybody that’s going to traffic these poisons, we’re targeting all of them at different times,” he said.
The drug has been connected to nearly 50 deaths nationwide.
For more information and resources on substance abuse in Arizona, you can visit http://substanceabuse.az.gov/.