Needle, heroin

Officials are warning about a new drug tied to overdoses in the Upper Peninsula and at least one death in Michigan.

Officials are warning about a new drug tied to overdoses in the Upper Peninsula and at least one death in Michigan.

It’s called purple heroin, mainly due to its purple hue. It contains a vast list of chemicals, particularly fentanyl, and new chemical called brorphine.

“They reported at least four different cases of it in 2019. But in this year alone in 2020, it’s up to 10 exposures and one death listed in Michigan. And others in Minnesota, Illinois, and Arizona,” said Varun Vhora, director of the Michigan Poison Center at Wayne State University.

Vohra said purple heroin can be just as deadly as fentanyl.

“With this brorphine, it’s similar to fentanyl. Now, especially in structure, and there is literature to suggest that it is similar in potency,” Vohra said.

Purple heroin, otherwise known as brorphine, is often purple in color and is often mixed with other opioids.

There are no medical uses for it and there is not much research on it.

“We don’t know much about this chemical brorphine. It’s a newcomer. And there’s not much literature on it. Kind of arrived as a research chemical in 2018. So we are still trying to figure out more and more about it,” Vohra said.

The drug is not detectable in standard hospital blood tests, but the potency of it is believed to be similar to that of fentanyl – which is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

“Well, we can say it is a synthetic opioid. It will respond to naloxone. So we want people in Michigan to be aware and get ahead of this trend,” Vohra said.

Authorities believe purple heroin is making its way to the Upper Peninsula from Milwaukee.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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