Michigan Poison Center issues warning about 'purple heroin'

Posted at 4:45 PM, Oct 14, 2020

The Michigan Poison Center at the Wayne State University School of Medicine is warning the public of recent reports involving "purple heroin" identified in Michigan.

Officials say it has been linked to several overdose cases in the Upper Peninsula and one overdose-related death in Van Buren County.

Samples sent to the Michigan State Police Laboratory for testing have identified several components of this product, including fentanyl, niacinamide, acetaminophen, flualprazolam, buspirone and brorphine. Brorphine is s a new non-fentanyl synthetic opioid identified in “purple heroin” and has been implicated in the death in Van Buren County.

The significance of the color is unknown.

Officials say the availability of brorphine combined with other potent opioids, like heroin and fentanyl, pose an imminent hazard to public safety, further fueling and complicating the existing opioid epidemic.

Brorphine is considered a recreational drug and an alternative to fentanyl by users. Although data is limited, brorphine overdoses should respond to normal naloxone dosing.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration encourages public health workers to look for signs and symptoms related to use of “purple heroin.”

Patients suspected of using heroin, fentanyl or other opioids/synthetic opioids who present with sedation, respiratory depression and other related symptoms should be reported to the local poison center for assistance with treatment.