46 confirmed deaths linked to dangerous opioid in ’15 and ’16 sparks emergency action
WASHINGTON, DC – Responding to the imminent threat to public health and safety, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed U-47700 into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, effective on November 14th. Emergency scheduling of dangerous drugs such as U-47700 on a temporary basis is one of the most significant tools DEA can utilize to address the problems associated with deadly new street drugs.
DEA has received reports of at least 46 confirmed fatalities associated with U-47700. 31 of those fatalities occurred in New York and 10 in North Carolina. From October 2015 to September 2016, DEA has received 88 reports from State and local forensic laboratories of U-47700 submissions.
This scheduling action will last for 24 months, with a possible 12-month extension if DEA needs more data to determine whether it should be permanently scheduled.
U-47700 is a novel synthetic opioid, and its abuse parallels that of heroin, prescription opioids, and other novel opioids. Law enforcement agencies report seizures of the drug in powder form and counterfeit tablets that mimic pharmaceutical opioids. Abuse of the drug often happens unknowingly to the user, and is encountered as a single substance as well as in combination with other drugs such as heroin and fentanyls.Some bags are marked with stamped logos, imitating a heroin sale. In addition, the drug can be pressed into pill format and marketed as a wide variety of prescription opioids. Because substances like U-47700 are often manufactured in illicit labs overseas, the identity, purity, and quantity are unknown, creating a “Russian Roulette” scenario for any user.
DEA’s Final Order is available for public viewing today in the Federal Register and outlines the purpose of the action and details the threats it poses to public health and safety. On Monday,November 14th, the Final Order will be published in the Federal Register and will take affect. Also included in Monday’s Federal Register notice will be DEA’s 3-factor analysis of the drug as required by the Controlled Substances Act, including DEA’s analysis of U-47700, which includes the drug’s chemical structure; history and current pattern of abuse; scope, duration and significance of abuse; and risk to the public health. Also included in DEA’s evaluation are detailed charts of opioid receptors binding and functional results of U-47700, and all other supporting documentation.
The Final Order for public viewing in the Federal Register can be found here.
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