Officials warning Hoosiers of lethal opioid mix called ‘gray death’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police are warning Indianapolis residents about a lethal opioid mix that has made its way into central Indiana. The drug’s street name is “gray death.”

“That more refers to its appearance; it almost has a concrete looking appearance. Maybe a solid substance that has the color of a concrete mixture and that is why it has that name,” said ISP Sgt. Stephen Wheeles.

Sgt. Wheeles is based in southern Indiana. He works closely with agencies in Cincinnati, where officials say gray death has already led to several overdoses.  The mixture is also affecting Indianapolis; the Marion County coroner says she has seen a dangerous trend of overdose deaths related to carfentanil and fentanyl.

“We will hear of large overdoses in the Cincinnati area or some large city and it does not take long for it to move into rural areas or the next city over like Indianapolis,” said Sgt. Wheeles.

Last year, experts say more people overdoses on carfentanil and fentanyl than heroin. Carfentanil is so strong it is used to sedate large animals.

“You have tranquilizers that are not meant for human consumption and are used for animals like elephants. Giving those to a person is very dangerous,” said Sgt. Wheeles.

Most users inject, swallow, smoke, or snort the drug. It can also be absorbed through the skin which is why law enforcement wears protective gear when they come in contact with the mix.

“It is very common these days. The dealers are after going after making these drugs stronger than they ever have before,” said Sgt. Wheeles.

Right now, law enforcement continues to focus on local highways and roads to intercept the drug before it enters central Indiana. Officials hope this warning about the dangerous drug mixture saves a life.

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