In August 2017, members of the Barrie Police Investigative Services attended a residence in the City of Barrie in regards to a sudden death.
Investigators seized a small bag of white powder from the scene to be tested by Health Canada. Testing confirmed the powder to be the deadly synthetic opioid U-47700. U-47700, also known as U4, pink or pinky, was originally developed by a pharmaceutical company in the 1970’s and was intended to manage pain. Although it was never produced for pharmaceutical use, the substance is now commonly produced in Chinese labs and exported into other countries, including Canada.
U-47700 originates as a pale pink powder however it is more likely to found as a white powder similar to the appearance of cocaine and heroin. Some reports indicate that it has also been found in the form of blue pills or as a liquid in droppers or nasal inhalers.
U-47700 has an estimated strength equaling 7.5 times the strength of morphine. Side effects are not completely known as it has never been tested on humans. However, it is known that contact with U-47700 may cause cardiac arrest and potentially death.
Police are urging recreational drug users to be aware that U-47700 can be found mixed with other drugs and often cannot detect its presence.
For further information on opioids and the side effects or other drugs, visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website or to speak with a public health professional one-on-one, call (705)721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.