Story at a glance
- Nitazene compounds were first synthesized in the 1950s for pharmaceutical research, and more recently, began to crop up in the illicit drug market in 2019.
- The inexpensive drugs are usually combined with other drugs like fentanyl, cocaine and heroin.
- Authorities say they’ve also seen a rise in the number of individual compounds within the nitazene family, prompting fears various forms of stronger synthetic opioids will continue to proliferate.
Officials in Ohio say they’re seeing a rise in the use of nitazenes — a group of synthetic opioids that can be exponentially more potent than fentanyl.
Nitazene compounds were first synthesized in the 1950s for pharmaceutical research, and more recently, began to crop up in the illicit drug market in 2019.
These synthetic opioids are typically combined with other drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, as they’re cheap to manufacture and pack a powerful punch. The drugs have been found to be anywhere from 2 to 40 times stronger than fentanyl, which has fueled an unprecedented number of drug overdose deaths.
Earlier this week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) warned residents that authorities have reported an increase in the prevalence of the drug over the last year.
America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.
“Frankenstein opioids are even more lethal than the drugs already responsible for so many overdose deaths,” Yost said. “Law enforcement and the public need to pay attention to these emerging hazards.”
The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) reported 143 nitazene cases in Ohio for the first quarter of 2022, a significant increase from the 27 cases the same time last year.
The BCI said more than 82 percent of those cases included nitazene mixed with fentanyl.
Authorities say they’ve also seen a rise in the number of individual compounds within the nitazene family, prompting fears various forms of stronger synthetic opioids will continue to proliferate.
The warning comes as illicit fentanyl and other opioids fuel a major spike in fatal drug overdoses, pushing overdose deaths well past the 100,000 mark over the last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said fentanyl is the leading cause of death among adults 18 to 45 in the United States.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA
OMICRON LASTS LONGER ON SURFACES AND SKIN THAN PREVIOUS VARIANTS: STUDIES
FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY CALLS FOR CANCELLATION OF DEBT FOR ALL STUDENT LOAN HOLDERS
TEXAS HAS ENOUGH WIND AND SOLAR POWER TO REPLACE COAL ALMOST ENTIRELY
HERE ARE THE LAWMAKERS THAT REPRESENT THE LARGEST UKRAINIAN COMMUNITIES IN THE US
NASA’S MARS HELICOPTER WILL CONTINUE FLYING ON RED PLANET
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.