- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island House has voted to ban a new synthetic opioid blamed for overdose deaths around the country.

The House voted 72-0 to approve the legislation Tuesday.

The drug, U-47700, is also known as “pink” and is often manufactured in illegal labs overseas.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it’s aware of at least 46 confirmed fatalities associated with the counterfeit drug since 2015. The agency in November implemented an emergency ban that temporarily placed it on a list of the most dangerous banned substances.

It was invented in 1978 by a pharmaceutical company looking for a morphine alternative but was never approved for use.

Rhode Island’s legislation would place it on the state’s own list of Schedule I controlled substances. The bill now moves to the state Senate.

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