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ISO: What Is It, and Why Should We Worry?

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Home Addiction ISO: What Is It, and Why Should We Worry?

With the proliferation of addictive and dangerous drugs available today, we don’t expect new ones to keep popping up.  But, when drug dealers need to replace a drug that is no longer available, they find something that will work.  The most recent drug in their arsenal is ISO.  So, let’s take a look at what is ISO drug, and why we should be worried about this dangerous drug.

What is ISO Drug and Why Should We Worry About It?  

ISO DrugIn 2019, China halted the production of fentanyl leading to a scarcity of the drug on the illicit market.  This left dealers scrambling to find a replacement drug to keep profits rolling in.  Experts say ISO is rapidly becoming popular in the illegal drug market in the United States. 

What is ISO?  Isotonitazene (ISO) is a synthetic version of the opioid etonitazene.  It is 100 times more powerful than morphine.  It is responsible for 40 to 50 fatal overdoses per month in the U.S., according to the U.S. News and World Report.  The drug is also more potent than fentanyl, making it one of the most deadly drugs on the streets today.

ISO drug comes from China and it was designed to mimic the effects of etonitazene. Etonitazene is an analgesic first used in the 1950s as a pain reliever.  It is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.  

Experts predict ISO will surpass fentanyl use and overdose rates in the coming years, and this is why we need to be worried.  ISO may become the new fentanyl.  So far, the only street names for ISO are Nitazene and Toni.

ISO Is Difficult to Detect with Opioid Drug Tests

Because ISO is so new, the medical field doesn’t have an abundance of data on exactly how prevalent the drug is in the US.  The lack of data on ISO drug is due in part to the fact that it is difficult to detect with drug tests.  However, special drug screens are in production that will detect the substance.

According to researchers, most information regarding ISO comes from postmortem analyses reported to national monitoring organizations.  

Other unique problems surrounding this deadly new drug have emerged.  For instance, law enforcement and the medical community are not familiar with the substance.  If emergency personnel doesn’t diagnose a person correctly, deadly consequences are likely.  

What Does ISO Drug Look Like?

ISO is available as a white, off-white, or yellow powder.  As such, it is easily mixed with other substances such as heroin or cocaine or pressed into tablets. The drug has been found in tablets marked as Dilaudid. 

Like fentanyl, ISO is being used to cut other drugs and sold to unsuspecting buyers who think they’re getting cocaine or meth. The methods of ingestion include inhalation, intravenous, or sublingual routes.

What Are the Side Effects of ISO?

ISO was never approved for medical use.  Therefore, few studies have been done regarding possible side effects.  According to some reports, ISO side effects such as sedation, respiratory failure, nausea, and vomiting have occurred.   

Because ISO has not been tested in clinical trials, other unknown side effects can be possible.  Drugs similar to ISO can cause cardiovascular issues, neurological problems, and other chronic health problems. 

The risk of death increases when ISO is used in combination with other drugs.

Who Uses ISO?

Generally, ISO is used by people who have a substance use disorder and use illegal opioids such as fentanyl or heroin.  They can find the drug easily in clubs or on the streets.  ISO is often added to drugs such as cocaine or heroin to replace fentanyl.  Therefore, many people are using ISO without realizing it.

Is ISO Drug Addictive?

Yes, using ISO can lead to addiction.  As a synthetic opioid, ISO will pose the same risks for dependence and addiction as fentanyl or morphine. If the use of the drug is suddenly discontinued, withdrawal symptoms occur.

Does Naloxone Work to Reverse ISO Overdose?

Many law enforcement officers and first responders aren’t familiar with ISO.  They may not be aware that a single dose of naloxone won’t be effective against an ISO overdose.  Some reports indicate that naloxone (Narcan) does work for ISO, but higher doses are necessary along with repeated dosing.

You Can Overcome ISO Addiction at Design for Change Recovery

Opioid addiction is a painful, challenging experience that requires professional treatment. If you are struggling with ISO addiction or an addiction to any other opioids, Design for Change Recovery can help.  We offer a comfortable, secure environment with compassionate staff where you can overcome addiction at your own pace.  

Our program consists of a range of therapies and activities that can be customized to suit your unique needs.  The therapies we provide are evidence-based approaches that seek to heal patients mentally, spiritually, and physically.  

We want you to succeed in overcoming ISO addiction or any other addiction.  Please contact our Lancaster, California facility today to learn more about our programs.


ISO: What Is It, and Why Should We Worry?