STATEHOUSE (Oct. 18, 2016) – State Rep. Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington) is crafting legislation adding U-47700, a dangerous synthetic opioid eight times more powerful than heroin, to the statutory definition of “synthetic drug.”
Typically produced overseas in unregulated labs in China or Eastern Europe, the synthetic opioid is easily accessible and affordable. Costing roughly $40 online, the most common street or slang term for the drug is “Pink.” It has not been evaluated or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not have any legitimate medical application.
“There have been more than 50 deaths nationwide and two in Bloomington linked to U-47700 use,” Ellington said. “As a retired firefighter, I have firsthand experience with how dangerous designer and synthetic drugs can be. This bill would designate the specific chemical compound as an illegal synthetic drug, resulting in criminal penalties, especially for dealers and traffickers.”
U-47700 was banned through a unanimous vote by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy on Sept. 12. That ban went into effect 30 days later. This action, adding U-47700 to the controlled substance list, is only temporary. It is an emergency action that will expire June 2017.
As a Schedule I controlled substance, a person who knowingly or intentionally deals or traffics in the substance commits a Level 5 felony. Enhancing circumstances, such as weight and other factors can increase the criminal penalty.
Several states have already moved to ban the drug. Ellington would like Indiana to follow suit, permanently designating it as a Schedule I controlled substance. Anyone who would possess or sell U-47700 would still be subject to criminal penalties after the temporary ban expires next year.
Ellington plans to introduce his proposal in the 2017 legislative session which convenes in January.
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.