Synthetic drug epidemic: Looking for 'legal' high

Chemists move to push out the next new 'legal' high


MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – Just as the DEA released a nationwide alert for fentanyl last year, a new synthetic drug was getting popular. And dealers were also lacing it with heroin. 

Adolphe Joseph was arrested with fentanyl and W-18, the next strongest high. Authorities can't keep up with chemists. There aren't any tests to detect it

W-18 is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Prosecutors charged Joseph for possession of fentanyl, but couldn't file charges for the W-18, which hasn't been classified as an illegal substance yet. 

Mariana R., an admitted drug user who lives in Miami's Wynwood, said she and her friends were experimenting with U-47700, which is considered a narcotic in Sweden and is similar to AH-7921, another synthetic. 

The drug is about $40 a gram and it is stronger than morphine, but weaker than fentanyl and W-18. She said she reads other users' "research" posts on Reddit, a social networking service. 

"I know it burns a little, so I don't think I will be doing it much," Rojas said. "With bitcoins [digital currency], I can get what ever I want to my friend's art studio, faster than I can get vitamins."

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