Isotonitazene, or ISO for short, is an illicit synthetic opioid that is so deadly, just one pill can kill. ISO is a derivative of etonitazene and is considered at least 20 percent stronger than fentanyl. This means that it can take far less to kill you. In fact, experts fear that ISO can kill through inhalation or skin contact.
Since China banned fentanyl production in 2019, ISO has had the opportunity to come in. Experts fear continued interest in this powerful drug. Let’s learn more about ISO and what you need to know to keep you and your family safe.
What is ISO Drug?
ISO is a synthetic opioid first developed in the 1950s to treat severe pain. You probably haven’t heard about it from your doctors, however, as there are much safer options. ISO is a synthetic version of etonitazene and believed to be more potent than fentanyl, which is already 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
According to a US News report, ISO is causing roughly 40 to 50 overdose deaths per month, up from about 6 per month in 2019. The synthetic drug has been reclassified by the DEA as a Schedule I drug with a high risk for abuse by users. It’s also not easily detected in routine toxicology tests, though researchers are working on this.
What Does ISO Look Like?
ISO comes in different forms, including white, off-white or yellow powder or crystals. It can also be mixed with other drugs such as cocaine or heroin, as well as pressed into tablets. This makes it incredibly dangerous, as drug users don’t know how much they are getting in a single dose.
ISO can come in through the nasal passages or through the skin, so it has the potential to cause overdose even in someone who isn’t intentionally ingesting it. This makes the drug risky to people who aren’t even using it. While ISO has been found all across the country, it’s most prevalent in the Midwest and Florida.
Does ISO Respond to Narcan?
One saving grace for opioids like fentanyl and heroin is that they respond to naloxone, a drug that can treat overdoses in emergency situations. However, ISO does not always respond to naloxone. At the very least, first responders and police officers are finding that in order to treat an ISO overdose, they need higher doses and repeated dosing. But there are no guarantees that this will work.
How to Treat an ISO Addiction
Because ISO is a synthetic opioid, it responds to the same treatments used for fentanyl or heroin addictions. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the gold standard for treating opioid problems. MAT therapy uses FDA-approved medications and counseling and behavioral therapies to manage drug cravings and help people reach full recovery.
Awakenings Treatment Center in Agoura Hills, CA provides treatment for opioid use disorders. We also treat co-occurring mental health conditions, eating disorders and chronic pain that could be at the root of your substance use. Contact our drug rehab in Agoura Hills to learn more about the appropriate level of care for you.