ISO – A New Synthetic Opioid More Powerful Than Fentanyl

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Florida made headlines last month – and not just because it’s a popular spring break destination. Attorney General Ashley Moody warned Floridians of a new, deadly synthetic opioid found in Florida called Isotonitazene, or ISO for short. According to reports, ISO is 20 to 100 times stronger than fentanyl, which is already an incredibly dangerous opioid.

In this post, we’re going to cover what we know about ISO and what makes it so deadly.

What is ISO, and Where is it Being Found?

ISO is a derivative of etonitazene, a synthetic opioid first developed in the 1950s by pharmaceutical companies to treat severe pain. Because there are safer, better options on the market, this drug is rarely used in the medical community.

However, in 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that ISO entered the illicit drug market and was responsible for numerous deaths. Like fentanyl, ISO can be laced with other drugs such as cocaine or counterfeit pills. Since 2019, ISO has been found in counties all over the U.S.

How Dangerous is ISO?

ISO is a deadly drug, believed to be 20 to 100 times more powerful than fentanyl. Consider that fentanyl is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and is responsible for the majority of opioid deaths. ISO can also be absorbed by the skin, which has experts worrying that one touch can kill a person.

One report stated that ISO is causing 40 to 50 deaths a month in the United States. The drug has been found in the blood of overdose victims in Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois, where in some cases, it was mixed with cocaine. The DEA has now reclassified ISO as a Schedule I drug with a high risk for abuse.

Why is ISO Coming Onto the Market?

Some people are calling ISO the “new fentanyl.” Part of the reason why it’s becoming more popular is because China banned fentanyl and its derivatives in 2019. Every few years, it seems, a new substance becomes popular. As fentanyl becomes more scarce, experts worry that ISO will become the new drug of choice.

What makes ISO especially concerning is that it can be mixed with other substances and pressed into tablets to make them stronger and more addictive. And while naloxone is typically used to treat opioid overdoses, ISO does not always respond to the medication. Currently, ISO is also not detectable in standard opiate drug tests either.

Where Does the Future Stand with ISO?

Experts aren’t sure where the future will lead with ISO, but they do fear that the powerful synthetic opioid can cause more deaths and overdoses than fentanyl. Healthcare providers must remain vigilant.

Because ISO is an opioid, treatment for the drug is the same as it is for fentanyl or heroin. Wolf Creek Recovery is a treatment center in Arizona that treats opioid addictions. Contact us today to discuss your needs for treatment. We are here for you, and we will continue to keep you updated on ISO and other similar drugs.