Rep. Whelan Takes Aim at Synthetic Opioid with Bi-Partisan Bill

BOSTON – Brewster State Representative Tim Whelan has co-sponsored a bill aimed at cracking down on a synthetic opioid killing many across the region.

U-47700 is a powerful synthetic from China that has been found responsible in a number of overdose deaths across the country.

More commonly known by its street name of “pink” or “pink death,” U-47700 is between 4 and 8 times more potent than heroin, depending on the mixture. 

Although it was added to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances more than a year ago, Massachusetts does not currently list U-47700 as a controlled substance.

“The failure to classify this deadly opioid under our state laws is essentially tying the hands of our law enforcement personnel because there is currently no crime an individual selling or possessing this drug can be charged with,” said Whelan. 

“The bill Representative Tucker and I have filed will close this loophole, making it easier for law enforcement to stem the drug’s entry into the Commonwealth and to hold dealers and traffickers accountable for their actions.”

Whelan and Rep. Paul Tucker’s (D-Salem) bi-partisan bill would change that, classifying U-47700 as a Class A controlled substance, and to prosecute trafficking of the drug in the same manner as heroin, using the same trigger weights and sentencing guidelines, including a scaled minimum mandatory. 

The bill will be reported out of the House Clerk’s office for further action.


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