According to a local report, Virginia State Police claim they have found a synthetic opioid that is even more potent and deadly than fentanyl.
Protonitazene, a new synthetic opioid, is three times stronger than Fentanyl. Fentanyl is already 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
The Center for Forensic Science Research & Education (CFSRSE) warned in December that “Nitazenes”, a new class of drugs, were gaining traction in the United States and Canada.
Radford University chemistry professor Kimberly Lane explained to WFXR TV that Protonitazene is more potent because it binds closer to brain receptors. In the past few months, the drug has become a problem.
Lane stated that the drug is still in its infancy and they are looking into how it binds to see what it might look like.
Overdose victims can get help with their overdose with Narcan. One nasal spray will usually suffice to treat an overdose of fentanyl. For Protonitazene-related overdoses, however, it may be necessary to use two to three times the amount of Narcan.
We reached out to Virginia State Police for additional information and will update this story accordingly.
Fentanyl overdoses have been increasing in the United States since illicit drugs like Fentanyl have made their way into counterfeit pills. This is almost always without the knowledge of the users.
Overdose deaths in the United States rose to 107,000 last year due overwhelmingly to fentanyl or other illegal opioids.
Due to restrictions by insurers, hospitals, and state officials, prescriptions for opioids have dropped 40% over the past decade. However, the number of deaths due to these medications is still between 13,000 and 14,000 each year. Studies show that people who develop an addiction to opioids start with prescription opioids and then switch to heroin or illegally-made Fentanyl because it is a much cheaper choice.