Nitazenes were invented more than half a century ago as painkillers, but they were never approved for use in the U.S.
Experts have issued an alert about a new deadly drug that is helping drive record overdose deaths across the United States.
Synthetic opioids called “nitazines” are 10 times stronger than fentanyl, the main driver of fatal overdose.
Last year, an unprecedented 100,000 people died as the U.S. opioid epidemic erupted alongside the coronavirus pandemic.
This is because many drug users have lost their jobs or are socially isolated, with no access to treatment or other support.
Joe Biden called the staggering opioid death toll a “tragic milestone” and vowed to spend billions to turn it around.
About 75 percent of overdose deaths are now linked to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid originating in China that has itself replaced the less potent heroin in the U.S. illicit drug supply.
A drug called protonitazene is about three times as potent as fentanyl, while isotonitazene is 10 times as potent as fentanyl.
Nitaniline has become “the most popular subclass of new synthetic opioids,” according to Alex Krotulsky, associate director of the Pennsylvania Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, and “more than fentanyl.” more effective, which is really scary.”
There are concerns that Narcan, which is used to reverse an overdose, may not be as effective as the newer drugs.
“We may be on the verge of destruction,” said forensic chemist Alexandra Evans, who discovered nitrothiazide in Washington.
“We’ve seen mass deaths from fentanyl overdose. Since this is more potent than fentanyl, we do expect an increase in overdose.”
Nitazenes are believed to be responsible for the surge in deaths in the capital, where nearly 500 people died from overdose last year.
Drug overdoses now kill more people in the U.S. than car crashes, guns, the flu, and pneumonia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100,300 Americans died from drug overdoses between May 2020 and April 2021.
The states with the largest increases — all over 50 percent — were Vermont, West Virginia and Kentucky.
The DEA has seized a record 12,000 pounds of fentanyl through 2021.New, more powerful synthetic opioids are emerging at an alarming rate, experts who track the U.S. illicit drug supply say.
“Every few weeks, we see something we haven’t seen before,” said Morgan Levitas, a chemist in the Washington Department of Forensic Sciences. “You can definitely see the drug supply here changing all the time.”
Post time: Jun-07-2022