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Dangerous group of 'Frankenstein' opioids on Ohio's radar

Fentanyl and its analogues 50 years on
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Fentanyl and its analogues 50 years on

Nitazenes, specifically isotonazine, are making their way into more Ohio counties

A warning issued by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost Wednesday cautions against an increased prevalence of nitazenes, "a group of dangerous synthetic opioids that can be up to 40 times more potent than fentanyl."

When comparing the first part of 2022 to last year, the Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) reported 143 nitazene cases in Ohio, up from 27 in 2021.

“Frankenstein opioids are even more lethal than the drugs already responsible for so many overdose deaths,” Yost says. “Law enforcement and the public need to pay attention to these emerging hazards.”

In some cases, emergency crews may have to use more doses of naloxone to reverse overdoses of nitazene, Yost says.

Where in Ohio is it?

State maps show this group of drugs is making its way into Butler, Warren and Montgomery Counties, as well as other parts of the state.

Hamilton County has had its eye on nitazenes and isotonazine (a specific kind of nitazene) since 2020.

Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan is a member of the Hamilton County Addiction Response Coalition and worries drug cartels might include this group of synthetic opioids in with other stuff.

"We cannot forget that these illicit drug manufacturers are always trying to find the next best drug to get people addicted to put into the U.S. market because they make money off of it," he says.

Synan cautions your first try of these types of drugs might be your last.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.