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Gray Death: A Deadly New Street Opioid Mix

John Schaffer, LPCC

Medically reviewed by

John Schaffer, LPCC

March 7, 2019

Perhaps the biggest danger associated with Gray Death is that people who buy it in the street don’t realize what they’re getting. That fact is sadly true of nearly any drug bought in the streets.

What is Gray Death? Unfortunately, we don’t always know. Reports have shown the deadly combination opioid drug to have a mix of opioids and opioid synthetics. However, how much of each opioid and which ones are used in Gray Death isn’t always known.

The following opioids and opioid synthetic have been found in Gray Death, according to ABC News:

About Gray Death

The drug appears in a solid, rock-like form that’s been compared to a hunk of concrete. The total impact of so many potent drugs combined is enough to kill a person with one dose, NBC News explains.

Why is Gray Death so potent? Heroin is a highly addictive drug with moderate to severe side effects, but fentanyl is 50 times as potent, and carfentanil is 100 times more potent. The three of them together, plus a synthetic opioid, is a deadly combination. Gray Death is even dangerous to touch, as some of the drugs can be absorbed through the skin on contact.

Each of these drugs are involved in the death of hundreds to thousands, particularly in the last few years. When combined, the person affected is at risk of a quick and brutal overdose. Gray Death has been the cause of 50 overdoses in the past three months in Georgia alone, according to ABC News.

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Opioid Abuse

Not everyone who abuses opioids plans to abuse them. The drugs are highly addictive, and you can form addiction after only a short time of using them. Opioid prescription drugs like fentanyl and morphine are prescribed to relieve severe pain, and people using these medications may not realize the risks associated with them.

Further, once you develop tolerance to a drug, it may be difficult to stop using it. Tolerance means you can’t feel the effects of a drug any longer, so you begin taking more of it. Even as you take more of an opioid, your body can only metabolize so much of the substance at a time.

Excess buildup of a drug in the body is what can lead to overdose. This can happen all at once, with deadly combination drugs like Gray Death, or over time with repeated abuse.

One of the biggest problems with abusing illicit drugs is that you have no idea what street drugs contain. You may buy something that looks like heroin, but contains a number of deadly drugs. When it comes to opioid abuse, it’s best to seek help in treatment before you or your loved one encounters one of these combinations.

Signs Of Opioid Overdose

Abuse from opioids is considered a medical emergency, and should always be treated as one. The effects of opioids cause mental confusion, nausea, and constipation. Opioids also slow breathing, and when overdosing, this effect can be disastrous.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists the following signs of opioid overdose:

  • Pale face that feels cold/clammy
  • Body goes limp
  • Fingernails are blue or purple in color
  • Vomiting
  • Making gurgling noises (due to blocked airway)
  • Not able to rouse/wake the person
  • Breathing or heart beat slows or stops

What Can Be Done For Opioid Abuse?

For someone who’s grown used to the effects of opioid abuse, quitting can be difficult. This is mainly due to withdrawal, or the symptoms you experience when not using the drug due to addiction. That’s why the first step to overcoming opioid abuse and addiction is detoxification.

Detoxification allows you to flush out toxins from substance abuse. But withdrawal symptoms can make this process uncomfortable. To help with this, medication can ease some of the discomfort. Detox should always be medically supervised, may integrate medication, and will be followed by a number of treatment methods.

Treatments may include a combination of several methods, and work to treat physical symptoms as well as behaviors that changed with addiction. Rehab centers, like the ones you’ll find at, help you create a treatment plan that meets your specific, individual needs.

What Are The Available Treatments?

Each rehab center offers specific methods. Some of the evidence-based approaches offered through our facilities include:

  • Treatment specific for men
  • Treatment specific for women
  • Behavioral therapy, like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Nutrition and exercise guidance
  • Adventure and wilderness therapy
  • Counseling: family, group, individual
  • Intervention services
  • Aftercare support

How To Get Help Today

When you take opioids for the first time, you may not be thinking about overdose. But when use turns to abuse, your thinking becomes aligned only with the drug. With deadly street opioid combinations like Gray Death, overdose is the dangerous, yet possible end result.

We want to help you find a treatment program that will change your life for the better. Contact us today at to learn more about opioid abuse and addiction, and the best rehab centers for treatment.

NBC News - What Is Gray Death?

U.S. National Library Of Medicin - Opioid Abuse And Addiction

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