TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - The synthetic drug "Pink" is a disturbing new trend that has killed dozens across the country and now we're learning it's responsible for at least three overdose deaths in Arizona.
The DEA announced the three deaths in Maricopa county; all involving "Pink," the synthetic opioid formally known as U-47700. They only learned about these overdoses in the past few months.
They're trying to find the traffickers responsible, as recovery clinics treat a growing number of opioid addicts.
"U4 is seven times more powerful than morphine, so just the smallest amount of it can end in an overdose episode and death," Doug Coleman said.
Coleman is a special agent in charge of the DEA in Arizona and says this is the first time "Pink" has shown up in local overdose cases. Two of the three men who overdosed were only in their 20s.
"Your kid can be sitting next to you on a couch working his iPhone and ordering "Pink" from a website in China for $35," Coleman said.
Lee Pioske gets calls from concerned parents every day. He's the executive director of Crossroads, one of the country's largest residential treatment centers for substance abuse.
"There's probably 60 to 70 percent of the people that are addicted to opioids that aren't even seeking help, so we want them to know that its a good idea to do something about it, to call somebody, to start tonight by getting involved in your own recovery," he said.
The Cronkite School had 100 professionals on hand tonight taking calls from those struggling with addiction.