Deadly synthetic drug linked to more than 50 deaths nationwide, including 2 in Bloomington

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new deadly synthetic drug is being linked to two overdose deaths in Bloomington as well as 50 other deaths nationwide.

A man and woman were found in their Bloomington apartment on Friday after police received a call for a possible drug overdose. When they responded, police found the bodies of the couple as well as drug packaging and shipping labels. That's what led police to believe they overdosed with a new deadly drug called U-47700.

The drug can be purchased easily online and it's inexpensive. Police believe that, coupled with the fact that it's perfectly legal, is the reason why police believe it's appealing to drug users.

“It could be anywhere. It could be in Bloomington. It could be in Indianapolis. It could be anywhere in the United States, anybody that is willing to order this and take it," said Bloomington Police Cpt. Steve Kellams.

States like Ohio have passed emergency legislation to make the drug illegal. In Indiana, police are waiting on lawmakers to make a move.

“Because it’s a synthetic drug, it’s not controlled as of yet, and that causes us a lot of problems when it comes to enforcement of this kind of thing," Cpt. Kellams said.

If lawmakers do place an emergency ban on the drug, that would mean it would be illegal to possess and sell, but police said illegal synthetic drugs are sometimes difficult to recognize because chemical components are constantly changing.

The drug is sold online with a warning stating, "not for human consumption," but drug users are still buying and using it. The drug is generally used by veterinarians for medical animal procedures.

"People need to realize from an education standpoint, just how dangerous these drugs are. They have no idea what they’re going to do to people. They’re simply created in not even labs, created in kitchens sometimes, and homemade labs and shipped out and sold and have no idea what they’re going to do," Cpt. Kellams said. "We’ve seen that with bath salts and spice. All of those containers when those drugs came out were all labeled not for human consumption."

Bloomington police said without the power of enforcement on the drugs, they're hoping to provide an educational message for potential users, especially students.

"Don’t take these drugs. They’ll kill you.”

The DEA said they are looking into the drug but have not made any decisions at a federal level.