Well-Being

Florida warns synthetic opioid more powerful than fentanyl is popping up around the state

istock

Story at a glance

  • Isotonitazene, known as ISO, is a synthetic opioid reportedly 20-100 times stronger than fentanyl.
  • Florida’s attorney general announced earlier this month that the drug has begun to pop up across the state.
  • From a class of synthetic opioids known as nitazenes, the drug was initially produced by the pharmaceutical industry in the 1950s but didn’t emerge among the illicit drug market until recently.

Florida is warning the public that a new synthetic opioid more powerful than fentanyl is popping up around the state.   

“For years, we have been warning about the dangers of fentanyl and how just one pill laced with this synthetic opioid can kill,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a news release earlier this month. “Now, there is a new, deadlier drug being found in Florida.” 

The drug in question is isotonitazene, known as ISO, which is reportedly 20-100 times stronger than fentanyl. Officials are alarmed by the emergence and strength of isotonitazene, as fentanyl is already 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and is the primary driver of drug overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.     


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news. 


“ISO has already been linked to overdose deaths in Florida,” Moody added. “So please, never take any illicit drug and know that using just one time could cost you your life.”   

Though isotonitazene, from a class of synthetic opioids known as nitazenes, was initially produced by the pharmaceutical industry in the 1950s, it didn’t emerge among the illicit drug market until recent years. Since then, according to Alex Krotulski, associate director at The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, it has slowly begun to pop up across the U.S.   

“In 2019 we saw the emergence of isotonitazene and now we’re seeing a sort of cyclic pattern,” Krotulski told Changing America. “A new nitazene analog emerges, it’s prevalent for a period of about six to nine months, the DEA schedules that individual drug and it goes away, and a new one pops up. Some people refer to it as whack-a-mole.” 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA 
SYNTHETIC OPIOIDS STRONGER THAN FENTANYL HAVE CROPPED UP IN THE US 
VICTIMS OF OPIOID CRISIS, LOVED ONES CONFRONT PURDUE PHARMA, SACKLERS IN COURT 
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO RELEASE NINE ENDANGERED RED WOLVES NEAR THE OUTER BANKS  
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO ERASE $415 MILLION IN STUDENT LOAN DEBT FOR NEARLY 16,000 BORROWERS 
JUST 20 MINUTES OF DAILY EXERCISE AT 70 COULD STAVE OFF MAJOR HEART DISEASE: STUDY