Grey Death Drug: An Emerging Dangerous Substance on the New Decade

... Credit :
Jane Taylor in World News

Last updated: 21 January 2020, 05:47 GMT

An opioid epidemic in America has led to an unfortunate amount of unnecessary addictions, dating from the 1990s to the present day. While there are many opiates people can become addicted to, when people start mixing these opiates together to make new drugs, like one in particular called the grey death drug, consequences are all too often fatal; even for first-time users.

What Is Grey Death Drug?

Grey death drug is a relatively new street drug that has been showing up in the United States since the end of 2016. Grey's death is a combination of heroin and other synthetic opioids. Because heroin is already considered a potent opiate, mixing it with any other type of opiate is extremely dangerous and can often kill, even those who just try it once.


The color of the grey death drug is grey, which is one of the reasons it got its name. It is described as ashy and can be compared to the color of cement or concrete mixing powder. It is still unknown what actually causes the grey hue in the drug.


The texture can range from large rock-like chunks to fine powder or anywhere in between. The texture of the drug has been found to be as inconsistent as the ingredient list.

How It's Used

Grey death drugs can be taken by injection, smoking, snorting, and/or oral ingestion. It is also very easily absorbed through the skin, making it dangerous to make any skin contact with. In some cases, even standard medical gloves do not prevent absorption.

Where It Has Been Found

This drug has been found in states in the eastern part of the country such as Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. In fact, over the course of 4 months, Georgia had more than 50 incidences and 17 overdoses.


Unfortunately, this drug is cheap to produce and cheap to purchase. It has been discovered that it can be purchased for as little as $ depending on what ingredients are used and how much.

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Side Effects

Shallow breathing, small pupils, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lethargy, cold and clammy skin, blue or purple fingernails, pale face, loss of conscientiousness, and/or slowing or stopping of the heart.  

Who Is at Risk?

Grey's death drug can really affect anyone at all who has access to it. Someone could try it experimentally to see what it feels like or they may try it because a friend is doing it. However, grey death primarily affects people that are addicted to heroin or opioids. Often heroin and opioid users are willing candidates to try new drugs on the market to see if they can find what they refer to like a better or more powerful high.

Though people in the areas where the drug has been found have the most access to it, it's likely that someone with the knowledge and the ability to acquire the ingredients would have the ability to replicate it anywhere in the world.

America's Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic in America started in the 1990s. It is the time when pharmaceutical companies informed the medical community that opioid pain relievers wouldn't be a cause for concern when it came to addiction.

At that point, doctors began to prescribe them more freely. Shortly thereafter, it became clear that opioid pain relievers were not only addictive, but patients began using them for recreational purposes instead of the pain relief they were prescribed for. 

At this point, use became widespread and out of control. In 2015 alone, approximately 33,000 died from an opioid overdose. In late 2017, the opioid epidemic reached a critical mass, with about 115 people dying from overdose every day.

Statistics On The Opioid Crisis

  • 21-29 percent of people who are prescribed opioids to manage pain misuse them
  • 8-12 percent develop an addiction to opioids
  • 4-6 percent of those who misuse opioids go on to use heroin
  • About 80 percent of heroin users first misused prescription opioids
  • Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from mid-2015 to mid-2016
  • Opioid overdoses increased 70 percent in the Midwest from mid-2016 to mid-2017

How Are People Working To Combat Opioid Overdose?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services have five major agendas they are working towards:

  • Making treatment and recovery services more accessible
  • Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs
  • A better understanding of the epidemic through public health records
  • Offering support and innovative research on addiction and pain
  • Choosing and implementing better alternatives for pain management

Who Is at Risk?

Just as anyone is at risk for a grey death drug, the same holds true for any opioid. Statistics show it can affect every stratum of race, age group, sex, and socioeconomic class.

3 Things You Need To Know About Grey Death

1. Ingredients In The Grey Death Drug

Grey's death doesn't have a standard recipe; however, heroin has always been found to be a constant, along with some other type of opioid. This is the reason grey death drug is such a dangerous drug; because without a standard recipe, no one knows how much of which ingredient is they are getting.  


Fentanyl is another ingredient commonly found in grey death. This poses a problem because fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin, making it very powerful; but even more so when mixed with heroin.

Fentanyl is typically used in hospitals to manage pain in general, but most commonly used to treat pain in cancer patients. Fentanyl can also be prescribed by a doctor in smaller doses for home use and can also be created illegally.


You will also likely find carfentanil, which is used to tranquilize large animals up to 2,000 pounds, such as elephants. Carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl, making it the most powerful drug out of all the commonly found drugs in grey death, further adding to its dangerous effects.

U-47700 (Pink)

U-47700 can also be referred to as “U4,” “pink,” or “pinky,” and usually comes in the form of a white or light pink powder and can be sold in bags or pressed into pills as immediate legal painkillers. Taking large amounts of this can produce effects similar to heroin or other opioids, and it is 7-8 times more potent than morphine. It has never been approved for human use, but can be used as a “research chemical.”


It is possible other opioids or unidentified drugs can be mixed in. In essence, someone can throw a bunch of mixed opioids in a bag and call it grey death.  

2. Grey Death Is Currently One Of The Most Dangerous Street Drugs On The Market

Because the amount of each ingredient within the grey death drug varies so widely, a dose so small that can't even be detected by the human eye can kill someone. All batches tested have been so inconsistent that buyers never really know what they are getting. 

Part of the reason for this is that when drug dealers acquire these drugs, they rarely know how potent they are. Mixing that many dangerous drugs with unknown potencies makes it easy to overdose. Forensic chemists have found this to be the scariest drug on the market in almost 20 years.

3. There Is A Way To Reverse The Effects Of The Grey Death Drug, But It Does Not Prevent Overdose

A medication called Naloxone or Narcan is often referred to as a “save shot” or “rescue shot.” It goes into action by binding to the same receptors as the opioids in the brain and dislodges opiate molecules, which reverses or helps put an end to the physical symptoms of overdose: most importantly respiratory depression.  

Because the drug is only available by prescription, it makes it a lot more difficult and time-consuming to get help for someone who has overdosed, and therefore too many people die before they are able to get the reverse medication. Also, since the grey death drug can kill someone instantly, the antidote would not be of any help in that case.

 Even though some law enforcement officials carry naloxone on their person, grey death is a lot harder to reverse than a single opioid overdose, such as plain heroin. A single opioid dosage can require many doses of Naloxone to reverse the effects, and the more opioids that are tacked onto that list, the more doses of Naloxone are needed to help save someone's life.  

Even if an officer does have the reverse medication on his or her person, there is no guarantee there will be enough to help when someone has a grey death drug in their system.



Although the opioid epidemic has created a huge problem in America, a solution is actively being worked on, and there is help available for willing parties. The tiniest of doses can kill you, and you can die from accidentally touching it and absorbing it through your skin. This is the most terrifying drug that's out on the streets, and no good can come from it.

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