TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s dangerous, highly addictive and kills in one dose. It looks like concrete, and it is deadly.
It’s called, “Gray Death.”
The Drug Enforcement Agency is warning Gulf Coast states about the influx of this potent mixture. It is similar to what a crack cocaine rock would look like, with the texture of concrete.
It is partially made of heroin, but much stronger. It also includes Fentanyl and other opioids. Gray Death has killed people in Georgia and the DEA fears Florida is next.
How do you stop it? Or even control it? As many Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies are on the look-out, moms are on a mission to save lives amidst Gray Death.
In fact, when it comes to overdoses from opioid deaths, Manatee County is on the highest alert. Manatee leads the state in the number of overdose deaths from opioids. On Tuesday morning, the county worked with law enforcement, drug counselors, parents and citizens during an opioid workshop. To say the turnout was good would be an understatement.
It was standing room only.
People showed up in droves to talk openly about combating opioid addiction in order to keep people safe in Tampa Bay.
However, one mom who is on a mission, tells us it’s not going to be an easy fight. This dangerous drug, one that holds sinister secrets, will kill people who use it.
“I pretty much expected the overdose rates to keep going up,” Julia Negron said.
When Negron tells you she knows what it’s like to battle addiction, she’s not exaggerating. She hasn’t just seen it – she’s lived it up, close and personal. The mother of three and grandmother of eight struggled with heroin addiction for years.
The demon, she said, never leaves you – it’s always there, but you learn to live with it.
8 on Your Side has learned that heroin users seek drugs like Gray Death for their next fix.
That’s why Negron is hoping that this newest substance on the streets doesn’t claim lives here at home.
“I mean, it’s like I don’t know, being in hideous labor times 1000 and being run over by a truck at the same time. It’s just the worst. You’ll do anything to avoid that,” she said.
For the last 32 years, Negron has been sober. Before that, her world of adventure is what led her to addiction.
She lived life in the fast lane, married to famous musicians from The Doors, the Allman Brothers and Three Dog Night. She admits there were, indeed, good times, but also many moments of hell, grief and loss.
She lost her own mother and sister to an overdose. She lost friends like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin.
“You don’t know how deep you were in it, until you’re in it,” she said. Her more than three decades of sobriety have allowed her to help others.
She knows Gray Death will not die quietly.
Negron is hoping parents will have open conversations with their kids as the DEA now warns people in places like Florida about this frightening new popularity of a deadly drug.