Ohio governor issues emergency order to outlaw new drug

The governor's action Wednesday targets a painkiller known as U-47700

Gov. John Kasich speaks during a Town Hall at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.
(AP Photo/Molly Riley)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio Gov. John Kasich has issued an emergency order allowing the state pharmacy board to move quickly to outlaw a deadly synthetic painkiller.

The governor’s action Wednesday targets a painkiller known as U-47700. The drug is considered more than seven times as powerful as morphine.

The governor’s order allows the state pharmacy board to suspend rules normally needed when classifying new drugs.

The order would place U-47700 in the same category as drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Authorities in northeastern Ohio say they’re starting to see signs of the drug in recent investigations of overdoses.

Overdose deaths are the leading cause of accidental deaths in Ohio, surpassing car crashes. Most of the deaths involve the abuse of legal painkillers and a growing heroin epidemic.

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