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Exclusive: New drug in OH, 1st death in Lake Co.

Posted at 4:54 AM, Apr 19, 2016

There is new drug is on the streets of Northeast Ohio and it can be deadly.

In fact, an overdose death in Lake County is believed to be the first in the state, said Doug Rohde, supervisor of Chemistry and Toxicology at the Lake County Crime Laboratory. 

It's called U-47700. "This was so new, no one had seen it," said Rohde.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call in January and found a 29-year-old dead.

"I ran the paraphernalia found at the death scene and I couldn't tell what I had," added Rohde. 

Rohde had a mystery.

"I did know most likely whatever was on that rolled up 10 dollar bill killed the young man," said Rohde. 

Tests were done on the white substance with the lab's high tech machine but there was no match. That meant the drug had never been in the lab. Rohde worked on the case since January.

Then, last week, a break.

After an alert from Lorain County about a new drug and some more research Rohde discovered it was U-47700. It is a new opioid that is eight times more potent than morphine. It is also deadly. U-47700 is to blame for the deaths of 20 people in 9 states. 

The synthetic opioid is so new that it has not yet been labeled illegal. But, Rohde said just because it is still legal does not mean that it is safe. 

Lorain County police have also seen the drug in several communities including Elyria and Amherst. 

In most cases, the drug is ordered online and delivered from China.