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November 2016

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has temporarily classified U-47700, nicknamed "Pink," a schedule I drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and no approved medical use. Since last year, this dangerous synthetic opioid has been linked with at least 46 confirmed deaths—31 in New York and 10 in North Carolina. Law enforcement agencies have seized the drug in powder form and as counterfeit tablets that mimic pharmaceutical opioids. Earlier this year, law enforcement in Ohio seized 500 pills resembling a manufacturer's oxycodone immediate-release tablets. However, laboratory analysis confirmed that they contained Pink.

Pink belongs to a family of deadly synthetic opioids far more potent than morphine. It is usually imported to the United States, mainly from illicit labs in China. The drug can be toxic—even in small doses. It is typically taken by itself or combined with other drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.

Pink's name comes from the pinkish hue of the powder. It has been available for purchase over the internet and is misleadingly marketed as a "research chemical." Labels that state "not for human consumption" or "for research purposes only" are likely used in an effort to avoid legal restriction.