Ellington’s controlled substance bill passes out of House

Posted by: Brenda Holmes and Allison Vanatsky  | Tuesday, February 21, 2017

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 21, 2017) – State Rep. Jeff Ellington’s (R-Bloomington) proposal that would add two drugs to the controlled substance list passed out of the House of Representatives today.

According to Ellington, one of the substances, U-47700, is typically produced overseas in unregulated labs in China or Eastern Europe. The most common street or slang term for the drug is “Pink.” The synthetic opioid is easily accessible and affordable, costing roughly $40 online. It has not been evaluated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not have any legitimate medical applications.

“This drug is seven and a half times stronger than morphine,” Ellington said. “It’s like playing Russian Roulette with a single barrel gun. This bill would designate this specific chemical compound as an illegal synthetic drug. This means that dealers and traffickers can receive criminal charges for distributing it.”  

There have been more than 50 deaths nationwide and two in Bloomington linked to U-47700 use. The drug was banned through a unanimous vote by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy on Sept. 12, 2016. That ban went into effect 30 days later but this emergency action will expire in June.

The legislation also adds etizolam to the list. Etizolam is chemically related to a class of substances known as benzodiazepines.

According to Ellington, the substance is currently a prescription medication in Japan, India and Italy but has recently emerged on the illicit drug market in Europe and the United States. Etizolam is usually in powder form or in tablet form. It has also been found painted onto small squares of paper that can be licked or swallowed.

As Schedule I controlled substances, a person who knowingly or intentionally deals or traffics these substances commit a Level 5 felony. Circumstances, such as weight and other factors can increase the criminal penalty.

The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. For more information on Ellington’s bill, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Jeff Ellington represents House District 62, which includes

portions of Greene, Monroe, Martin and Daviess counties.

A high-resolution photo of Ellington can be downloaded by clicking here. 

Audio is attached.