U-47700, also known as “Pink”, “Pinky”, or “U4” on the streets, is a potent, synthetic opioid medication developed as a dangerous designer drug. Even small doses can be very toxic or even deadly. Reports have surfaced of multiple deaths due to street use of U-47700 or “Pink”. Importation into the U.S. is primarily from illegal chemical labs in China.
Fatalities due to Pink (U-47700) in the United States join the growing incidence of drug overdose or deaths due to prescription opioids and synthetic designer drugs like “spice” and “bath salts.” The public using these street or Internet products can never know exactly what is in them, how much, or the degree of toxicity with use.
Those who misuse U-47700 are at danger of addiction and substance abuse disorder, as well as overdose and mortality, comparable to those who abuse heroin, prescription pain opioids, and synthetic opioids. This narcotic may be found in combination, consciously or accidentally, with other street drugs such as heroin or fentanyl. It was also seized as a separate product.
These illicit substances appear to originate from overseas, mainly China, and the identity, purity, and quantity of substances in any one product purchased off the street may be unknown. A user may be told the product contains one substance, while in reality it could contain any dangerous chemical.
U-47700 (“Pink”) is a novel synthetic opioid agonist with selective action at the mu-opioid receptor.
The chemical designation is 3,4-dichloro-N-[2-dimethylamino) cyclohenyl]-N-methylbenzamide.
It was created in the 1970s by chemists at Upjohn Pharmaceuticals as a powerful pain reliever for use in surgery, cancer, or traumatic injuries.
U-47700 is a synthetic opioid originally developed as an alternative pain medication to morphine in the late 1970s. The drug is 7.5 times more potent than morphine, making it similar to hydromorphone (Dilaudid). Because it is structurally different from morphine, and was never marked or trademarked as a drug in the US, it is legal to buy. Increasing numbers of deaths from U-47700 have been reported in the US, including recent cases in Indiana.
Illicit opioid use is still an increasing problem in the United States. The emergence of synthetic opioids is an emerging threat that has gained attention in recent years. We offer an overview of the emergence of U-47700, a synthetic opioid. We discuss the history of U-47700, its legal position, the ease with which it can be obtained, the effects of its usage, and a plan to raise awareness of this synthetic opioid.
u-47700, synthetic opioid, opioid toxidrome, drug abuse, novel psychoactive substance, opioids, opioid poisoning, opioid abuse
U-47700, also known as 3,4-dichloro-N-((1R,2R)-2-(dimethylamino)cyclohexyl)-N-methyl benzamide, is a new synthetic opioid (NSO) discovered by Upjohn in the late 1970s. With ten times the in vivo activity of morphine, U-47700 has become a drug of widespread misuse due to its ease of production and, until recently, law enforcement’s lack of robust detection capabilities. U-47700, a crucial element in “gray death,” has been discovered in counterfeit oxycodone tablets.
Because of its global rise in the last five years, it is currently classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States and similarly labeled around the world; also, at autopsy, U-47700 was revealed to have contributed to the death of pop singer Prince. This Review will cover the >40-year history of U-47700 and go into detail on its synthesis, medicinal chemistry, in vitro/in vivo pharmacology, drug metabolism (from postmortem overdose cases), and societal influence.