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'Gray death' cases surge across the south. What you should know about deadly new drug mix

More communities are seeing a dangerous drug that looks like chunks of concrete.
Credit: St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office
A potentially deadly mix of drugs called "gray death" was seized in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, but it's popping up in other communities too.

A mix of drugs known as "gray death" has been popping up across the south.

CBS News reports it looks like chunks of concrete, and detectives are warning people it's so dangerous -- they shouldn't even handle it with bare hands.

According to the report, the sheriff's office in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana has already made several arrests.

"Gray death" has also turned up in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. While officers in Tampa Bay are aware of the potentially deadly mix, they haven't seen a spike in those cases here.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office reported the following numbers of overdose deaths to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2018:

Fentanyl – 123 

Fentanyl with other drugs – 7 

Heroin – 108

Heroin with other drugs – 6 

The Medical Examiner does not break down the number of deaths from "gray death" specifically, and it will take months before the 2019 overdose numbers are available.

"Gray Death" is a combination of several opioid drugs. In addition to heroin, it may also contain fentanyl, carfentanil – which is sometimes used to tranquilize large animals like elephants – and a synthetic opioid called U-47700. 

According to USA Today, users inject, swallow, smoke or snort it.

RELATED: All Hillsborough County deputies will now carry Narcan

RELATED: New needle exchange program designed to combat hepatitis and HIV

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