Decatur, GA – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) issued a public safety alert regarding illegal synthetic opioids due to the high number of drug related deaths this year. According to a press release from the GBI, 17 deaths have been caused by the drugs U-47700 and/or furanyl fentanyl just in the first four months of this year, which is equal to the number for all of 2016. U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl, both Schedule I drugs are used in the same manner as heroin. A suspicious death last month in Monroe has been attributed to a possible death as a result of this epidemic. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse have no currently accepted medical treatment use in the United States. The drugs are distributed in either powder or tablet form.
The GBI Crime Lab has received approximately 50 cases containing U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl this year with many cases containing three or four different additional opiates. Because furanyl fentanyl and U-47700 are lethal at very low doses, law enforcement and the public should use caution when handling these drugs. They can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and are extremely toxic in the smallest quantities.
GBI warn that U-47700 or furanyl fentanyl may cause symptoms such as shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, cold or clammy skin, loss of consciousness, and/or heart failure.
“Should someone come in contact with the drugs and an overdose is suspected, administer Naloxone immediately and call 911. Multiple doses of Naloxone may be required,” Nelly Miles, director of communications for the GBI said in a press release. “One Metro-Atlanta law enforcement agency recently seized approximately 8 kilograms of the furanyl fentanyl and U-47700 mixture. A field test of the drugs was initially negative before GBI Crime Lab testing identified the substance.
Miles said the danger and complexity of the opioids led to the GBI issuing a statewide officer safety alert, warning law enforcement to use extreme caution and utilize personal protective equipment when handling or packaging any synthetic opioid. Legislation was introduced this year to ban both U-47700 and furanyl fentanyl. The governor’s signature on April 17, 2017 made this effective immediately.