Best Friends, 13, Killed by Opioid Named 'Pink'

Ryan Ainsworth, Grant Seaver died within 48 hours of each other in September
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2016 8:36 AM CDT
Two 13-Year-Olds in Utah Killed by Opioid Bought Online
A listing for an opioid for sale on the internet. This one is carfentanil, not the type involved in the Utah deaths.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Two 13-year-old best friends in Utah died within 48 hours of each other in September, and now police know why: Toxicology results show that Ryan Ainsworth and Grant Seaver overdosed on a synthetic opioid nicknamed "pink," reports KSL. Authorities say they bought the drug, formally called U-47700, online from China with the help of friends. Each boy died at home of "acute drug intoxication," say police in the resort town of Park City. Authorities say the boys enlisted the help of a 15-year-old to order the drug, and he was due in court Friday on charges of felony distribution of a controlled or counterfeit substance and misdemeanor reckless endangerment, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

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Court documents say a teenage girl also helped by having the drug mailed to her home because the teens figured her parents wouldn't be suspicious. She has not been charged. Pink, or pinkie, is part of a wave of potent synthetic opioids hitting US streets after being churned out in overseas labs, reports the AP. Decades ago, U-47700 was once seen as an alternative to morphine, but it languished until the recent popularity of synthetic opioids. In fact, police found it at the estate of Prince after his fatal overdose. The DEA moved to make U-47700 a banned "Schedule 1" drug in September—meaning it has no medical value but a high abuse potential—but the AP notes that the order has not yet taken effect. (This synthetic drug is rampaging through LA's Skid Row.)

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