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Synthetic Opiate U-47700 Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 12, 2019

U-47700 is a drug currently without any documented street names. The issues paired with the drug’s current legal standing and danger of abuse makes for what can be a potentially lethal combination for those who choose to experiment with it.

Opiates exist in three capacities—naturally occurring, semisynthetic, and synthetic. The latter, which includes some dangerous designer drugs, is progressively becoming a problem. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that some are unregulated, untracked, unscheduled, and used by people who are unaware of the full extent of the drug’s capability.

A Brief, But Dangerous History

U-47700 has extended its dangerous grip from Europe (where it has already been made illegal in Finland and Sweden) to the United States. Reports have linked the drug to an estimated 50 deaths nationwide and also cite that Ohio, Wyoming, and Georgia are already moving to ban it due to its connection with overdoses. Other sources state that Kansas law enforcement agencies are taking steps to enact an emergency ban.

The drug itself is manufactured overseas and is purchased predominantly via the internet. U-47700 has been in existence for over four decades and, until fairly recently, its use was restricted to scientific purposes. Despite the fact that many websites that sell it state that it is not for human use and only for research purposes, it’s increasingly becoming clear that people are using it for illicit purposes. The availability, lack of government regulation, and relatively cheap price have all contributed to its popularity.

It was originally created by the pharmaceutical company Upjohn with the expectations that it might replace morphine in medical settings as a painkiller with a lower potential for addiction. Though the length of time this drug affects a user is purported to be less than that of other opiates, scientific trials have shown that this drug has a potency that exceeds that of morphine by nearly 7.5 times.

The Dangers Of Using U-47700

Despite its relatively short lifespan on American soil, the dangers associated with this drug are quickly becoming evident. Users report snorting, injecting, orally ingesting, or even rectally administering U-47700. Some people have used it unknowingly (due to its powdered form), thinking it is a different drug. With its relative newness within the illicit drug circuit, many users don’t know anything about it and may use it improperly. Misidentification and improper use is a recipe for disaster. As with any drug of this caliber, the chance of receiving a version that is not pure is very high, creating a greater risk of death.

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Online forums spout reports varying from pleasurable experiences to heartbreaking stories of losing a loved one. Despite the lack of information, this is a drug that more often than not is linked to dangerous and even deadly experiences, which far outweigh the pleasant ones.

Like other opiates, U-47700 is linked to respiratory depression, often so severe that users are experiencing quick and adverse effects. These effects include sometimes-fatal overdoses. Prolonged periods of respiratory depression severely limit the amount of oxygen going to the brain, a condition known as hypoxia. The National Institute on Drug Abuse speaks in regard to hypoxia caused by opiate abuse, stating that it “can have short- and long-term psychological and neurological effects, including coma and permanent brain damage.”

The use, abuse, and subsequent negative and fatal effects of this drugs go largely untracked. These issues have made it difficult to understand just how widespread this problem is and what can be done to stop it.

Often, when a person who overdoses on this drug dies, another drug may be involved. Tests for this drug are not nearly as widespread as others, as it is not yet a controlled substance. For these reasons, it might not show up on the initial toxicology screens or medical support staff may not know of its existence.

Treatment For U-47700 Abuse And Addiction

Though this drug is new, treatment will follow that of other opiate drug abuse and addiction protocols. It is worth noting that because of its new nature, you should choose a facility for recovery treatment that has as much knowledge on the subject as is available. It is imperative when you seek medical treatment or rehabilitation that you inform them of this specific drug use, as well as any other.

Rehabilitation can occur in either an outpatient or inpatient setting, which is usually determined by the severity of the addiction. Sadly, relapse rate can be higher for this drug and other opiates, partially due to the difficulty of detoxing. It is a process that is exceedingly difficult, uncomfortable, and even dangerous if undergone on one’s own. For this reason, many addiction specialists strongly recommend that a person enter an inpatient treatment program to undergo the most intensive rehabilitation possible.

During withdrawal and throughout your time in treatment, you will be surrounded by highly trained and compassionate individuals who understand what you are going through. These are people who can give you the medical, mental, and emotional support that you need to get through what can be a tumultuous process. The facility’s addiction support team will also be able to administer any medications that may help alleviate your symptoms of withdrawal and support your recovery.

Inpatient programs vary in length, starting at 30 days and extending to several months. The benefits of an inpatient program are vast. An addiction and its subsequent withdrawal take a huge toll on your physical, mental, and emotional states. Within a facility, you have round-the-clock access to people who can support you while you contend with the difficulties of recovery.

The staff at your facility will help you deal with any other co-occurring conditions that might influence your addiction and subsequent sobriety. Therapy, both individual and group, will be a predominant part of your treatment protocol. Cognitive behavioral therapy has some of the best success in this realm. Often, it is paired with medications that help you transition through withdrawal and into long-lasting recovery. Pain management techniques, including medications, are also available.

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