KAYSVILLE — The dangerous synthetic opioid known as "pink" has surfaced again, this time in Kaysville.
A 39-year-old man overdosed last week, but Davis County paramedics were able to save him. The potency of "pink," or what the Drug Enforcement Administration calls U-47700, presents challenges for paramedics.
"It's something so dangerous that it could take your life in an instant,” said Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. DeeAnn Servey.
Paramedics found the man in cardiac arrest on his living room floor. "It is way more potent than anything that we've seen on the streets so far,” said Davis County sheriff’s deputy Chase Harvey.
Paramedics said their colleagues had to use three times the normal dose of naloxone to revive the man. "He took one vial and another half — 3 milligrams total,” Harvey said.
The man later told authorities he ordered “pink” online from China and had only taken a pinch before he passed out.
"You're just really playing roulette with your life. You don't know what you're taking," Servey said. The substance is currently being tested.
A week ago pink was named as a potential cause in the sudden deaths of two 13-year-old boys in Park City. Those deaths remain under investigation.
Pink is so new that paramedics have not changed any protocols to deal with it. But paramedics now know about the potency of pink compared with heroin and other opioids when they suspect an overdose.
"We just have to be more observant and ready to push more Narcan than we're used to," Harvey said.
Before pink, paramedics were already deep in an opioid epidemic. "It's terrible. It really is,” Harvey said. “There's a lot of opioid use, there's a lot of drug use in the community.”
Paramedics sometimes may save an overdose patient one week, only to treat the same patient again after another overdose.
"We don't know if it's going to be two days, or a week later, we're out there again for the same person giving them Narcan again,” Harvey said. “It's frustrating as an EMS system that we continue to spend tax dollars on responding and not really making any headway in solving the problem.”
One of the labs testing for pink said 80 deaths have been to the drug over the past nine months.
Pink is still not illegal, but the DEA is working on a temporary ban, and Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said he has already started to draft legislation that would make the synthetic opioid illegal.