Summary: Opioid overdose-related deaths are rising in the US. Statistics show that most such deaths occur due to synthetic opioid overdose and opiate abuse, as these drugs are more potent than popular street drugs like heroin. For example, fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. However, in recent years, overdose-related cases due to a new kind of opioid called Isotonitazene have been rising. This new kind of opioid is 20 times more potent than fentanyl.
Illicit drug manufacturers are becoming more complex and innovative and thus keep coming up with new drugs that are potent and cheaper to produce. The pharmaceutical industry has created most synthetic opioids with the right intention. Unfortunately, however, many of these medications have become drugs of abuse. What is worrisome is that synthetic opioids are far more potent than natural opioids.
Just take the example of fentanyl, which is a legal opiate that doctors prescribe for specific medical conditions. However, fentanyl has also become a popular drug of abuse as it is 50 times more potent than popular street drugs like heroin. However, higher potency also means a significantly higher overdose risk. Now, it appears that drug 20 times more potent than fentanyl is circulating in the illicit drug market. One need not be an expert to guess about the potential risks of such a potent drug. This drug is called Isotonitazene or commonly known as just ISO. It is a relatively new drug that has already flooded the market. Unfortunately, its rise has been exponential, and this is quite problematic.
It is a drug first identified in the illicit drug market in just 2019. In 2021, The Washington Post first reported an estimated close to 500 overdoses in the District of Columbia over the period of 12 months. The rise of this new synthetic drug is worrisome since CDC’s data show that more than 75% of overdose-related deaths occur due to synthetic opioids. Opioid addiction treatment is crucial in addressing this issue.”
This new opioid has become popular in such a short time that DEO has to offer a special warning about ISO. Basically, though the drug is new but not the phenomenon, illicit drug producers are always looking for drugs that are new, easy to produce, and potent so that they can maximize their profits. Not only that, new drugs have other benefits like Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and other legal bodies are not aware of the substance. Thus, a lower risk of being caught with such new drugs and an even lower risk of being persecuted.
The law cannot persecute someone for possessing a substance that is not on a list of illegal drugs. Of course, illicit drug traders know that agencies will catch up quickly. However, they also know that they can make a lot of money in a short time. For example, though DEA now knows well about Isotonitazene, identifying the drug still remains a challenge. There are still no rapid tests available for use by the agencies. Just take the example of fentanyl. DEA or other agencies know quite well how to identify the drug. Not only that, but they also have rapid test strips to confirm. However, things are different for Isotonitazene, and thus detecting it is still challenging.
Researchers say that these days one can readily buy various chemicals online that are labeled as “not for human consumption.” Many organizations sell these chemicals for scientific studies. However, some illicit drug makers can get hold of such substances and even learn to produce them, which results in the introduction of new drugs to the market. Of course, it is better to avoid substance use altogether to stay safe. However, for those with substance abuse disorder, it is better to avoid using new substances, as using such substances poses a much greater threat.
The Bottom Line
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