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Kasich takes action against new drug U-47700

Posted: 1:07 PM, May 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-04 13:07:37-04

Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order Wednesday, authorizing the State Board of Pharmacy to take emergency action to make a new, dangerous drug popping up in Ohio a controlled substance. 

newsnet5.com first told you about U-47700 last month when we reported that an overdose death in Lake County was believed to be the first in the state.

Exclusive: New synthetic drug shows up on streets of Northeast Ohio, first death in state in Lake Co.

"This was so new, no one had seen it," Doug Rohde, supervisor of Chemistry and Toxicology at the Lake County Crime Laboratory, told newsnet5.com. 

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," he said.

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, in April, a break.

After an alert from Lorain County about a new drug, Rohde discovered it was U-47700--a new opioid that is eight times more potent than morphine. 

But when we first reported the story last month, the drug was still legal. In fact, it could be simply ordered online and delivered from China. 

Now, Gov. Kasich is trying to change that. 

The executive order signed Wednesday allows the Ohio pharmacy board to make U-47700 a schedule I controlled substance--comparable to heroin and other opiods. That means users would be subject to criminal drug penalties.