ASHBURN, Va. - It’s a designer drug more potent than heroin and for sale online, cheaper than a video game.
What’s known as ‘pink heroin’ is responsible for several dozen deaths across the country, and FOX 5 has learned that a Loudoun County man is among them. The chemical name for the synthetic drug is U-47700. It’s often made in Chinese labs and a web search shows it’s available for less than $40. Despite its nickname, the drug is not pink and resembles standard heroin.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office says the 24-year-old man who overdosed purchased the drug online, likely from China. He was found unconscious at his apartment on Rivermont Terrace in Ashburn in July, and just this month, toxicology results confirmed that U-47700 was to blame.
“It’s just so dangerous,” said Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman. “And we’re trying to get the word out. This is not good. This will kill you.”
Pink heroin has proven especially dangerous because it’s resistant to Naloxone, a shot used to help save people who are overdosing. In the Ashburn case, a deputy attempted to administer Naloxone, but was unsuccessful reviving the victim.
Because of the drug’s potency and accessibility, Chapman says parents need to be aware. Last month, pink heroin was blamed for the deaths of two 13-year-old boys in Utah.
“You got to pay attention,” Chapman said. “You got to be an accountable parent and you got to hold your kids accountable and watch what they’re doing.”
The DEA has classified the drug as a schedule one substance, but since it’s so new, only a few states have taken action to ban it.
FOX 5 reached out to several other law enforcement agencies in the DMV, including Fairfax, Montgomery and D.C. police departments. Investigators said while there are no known cases yet, it’s something on their radar.