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Officials warn of deadly new synthetic opioid 'pink'

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Chris Pizzello/Invision
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Associated Press

New York Sen. Timothy Kennedy has proposed new legislation that would ban the sale and possession of the newly emerging synthetic opioid nicknamed "Pink." Kennedy says U-47700 is thought to be responsible for 80 deaths across the country over the past nine months. The opioid, also used as a painkiller, was reported as part of the drug mixture that killed pop star Prince in April. Kennedy says it is eight times more powerful than heroin and has already been banned in four states.

“Not only is it terrifying this deadly drug is easily accessible through the click of a mouse, but I find it extremely alarming that children have already figured out how to get hold of it, with devastatingly fatal results,” said Kennedy. 

Kids Escaping Drugs Executive Director Robin Clouden says U-47700 is being compared to heroin and morphine and is so powerful, just touching it can result in heart problems.

"Every time we get ahead, the manufacturers of these things just tweak one little molecule and that's the next greatest drug. That's what continues to happen. It was happening with synthetic marijuana," Clouden told WBFO. "I feel like we're always running uphill."

Clouden says although the drug is available online, she has not seen it on her substance abuse treatment campus yet. She says banning it now can help "Pink" from becoming a problem locally.

"People with a drug addiction think, 'I want to try this because it sounds like the best thing I've ever had.' That use can be your last," she said.

In addition to the new bill, Kennedy has asked the governor to include "Pink" on the Department of Health's list of prohibited drugs and chemicals.