Medical DirectorMark Leeds, D.O. | Podcast: The Rehab

What is pink heroin and why is it so deadly?

I once overheard someone commenting on how great the cocaine was in Key West, Florida. He said, “it’s so pure, it’s pink!”

Aside from the amusing alliteration and my mentally connecting his comment with sandy beaches and pink flamingo-themed items in gift shops, there does seem to be a street appeal to pink powder. The same goes for heroin. Some street users seek out a drug known as pink heroin.

Chasing the dead man’s high.

It turns out that pink heroin is not heroin at all. It is a drug known by the memorable name, U-47700. The drug is a synthetic designer drug which acts very much like an opioid.

While not as potent as fentanyl, U-47700, also known as U4, pinky, and just pink, is still very dangerous. It is thought to be at least 7-8 times the potency of morphine.

When people used to chew on Duragesic patches or shoot up the fentanyl gel they squeezed out of the patch, it was referred to as, “the dead man’s high.” The nickname was earned because users had no idea how much drug they were getting and how strong it was going to be.

Imagine taking a drug with no idea if you are going to get high or pass out and stop breathing. When drug users snort, swallow, shoot up, or smoke pink heroin, they face the same danger. There is no guarantee that they will survive the experience.

Why does an overdose sell more heroin?

You would think that when a drug dealer sells heroin that causes a deadly overdose that his or her career as a dealer would be over. Yet, instead of being turned in to the police or avoided, drug users seek out the dealers who sold the deadly dose.

There are heroin users who want to buy the stuff that killed someone. It is a sort of testimonial to the strength of the drug. Of course, the other users do not expect to overdose. They believe they will be prepared to use it more carefully.

What do pink heroin and gray death have in common?

Gray death is another opioid-like street drug that is known to be highly dangerous. How is gray death connected to pinky?

It turns out that gray death is a combination of multiple drugs, possibly including heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and other non-opioid drugs. And, it also often contains U-47700, or pink.

Gray death is available as a grayish powder and is used in the same ways that U4 can be used. Additionally, both drugs have been found in pressed fake oxycodone tablets.

Beware the fake blues.

If you use the blue oxycodone 30mg or Roxicodone, you may think you are safe because it is a pharmaceutical grade product. Unfortunately, that false sense of security can no longer protect you.

Now, if you buy these Roxy blue pills on the streets, they could very well contain gray death or U-47700. I have already heard reports from people on the streets that these fake Roxies are out there, being sold as real oxycodone pills.

Now is a good time to give up opioids.

While opioid overdoses are not new, they are now happening more frequently. Most heroin on the streets is not real heroin anymore. Dealers are in business to make money and it is cheaper to sell synthetic analogs that give the same high as heroin.

Unfortunately, these new designer heroins are deadlier than real heroin. Now is the time to start treatment with methadone or Suboxone and get get away from the dangers of gray death and pink heroin.


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