DEA Classifies Deadly Synthetic Opioid as Schedule I

The scheduling comes in the wake of at least 46 fatalities.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has placed the synthetic opioid drug, U-47700 into the Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

The scheduling comes in the wake of at least 46 fatalities that were confirmed to be associated with U-47700, between October 2015 to September 2016. In total, the DEA received 88 reports from State and local forensic labs of U-47700 submissions.

The new scheduling will come into effect on Monday, November 14th and will last for 24 months with a possible 12-month extension if the DEA needs more data to determine whether the drug should be scheduled permanently. 

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Agencies reported that during seizures of the drug they have found powder form and counterfeit tablets of U-47700 which mimic pharmaceutical opioids. The DEA say its abuse potential parallels that of heroin, prescription opioids, and other novel opioids. Additionally, the drug can be pressed into pill format and marketed as a wide variety of prescription opioids.

The AP previously reported that the drug is being made by chemical companies in China.

The DEA highlighted the dangers of the drug stating, “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.

The Federal Register will published the Final Order on Monday, November 14th. This will include the drug’s chemical structure; history and current pattern of abuse; scope, duration and significance of abuse; and risk to the public health.

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