MILWAUKEE — A new synthetic opioid has been discovered that can be as powerful as fentanyl.
Isotonitazene, also referred to as iso, is a new synthetic opioid that is highly addictive but has not yet been added to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's controlled substances list. Meaning, iso is not illegal.
According to a press release, the toxicity of the drug has not been widely studied. However, due to drug user deaths involving iso, the City of Milwaukee Health Department believes "that this new opioid holds the potential to cause widespread harm."
The health department is unaware of the size of the iso market. However, it is known to be sold online as a legal replacement for other opioids, according to the Milwaukee County Health Department.
In a press release, the health department wrote, "Researchers found most iso comes in a yellow or off-white powder that can be cut into other drugs. It is being shipped from China, and is being pressed into counterfeit pills."
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office has identified iso used seven times in 2020 and the health department is seeing a general trend of iso use among men between the ages of 26-52.
The health department has also found that many times, iso is being used with other drugs.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from substance misuse, please contact the Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative at 414-286-5230 or contact 2-1-1 for community resources.