Volume XIV, Issue VI - August 2020

From:  Danielle L. Kirby, Director
Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery

DuPage County Press Release Regarding New Street Drug Overdoses

We have been informed by Dr. Richard Jorgensen, DuPage County Coroner, of the occurrence of two new street drugs in the area. These drugs are flualprazolam and isotonitazene. The DuPage Coroner's Office has investigated eleven (11) deaths involving flualprazolam and four (4) to isotonitazene. These are new and dangerous drugs. Overdose deaths involving isotonitazene and flualprazolam have also been recorded in Cook County within the past year.

Information about these drugs are:

Flualprazolam is a benzodiazepine derivative and has sedative and anxiolytic effects. It was first synthesized in 1976 but not presented to the FDA for approval and was never marketed. It has subsequently been sold as a designer drug.

A thorough expert and scientific report from the World Health Organization can be found below:

https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/Final_Flualprazolam.pdf?ua=1

Isotonitazene is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic commonly referred to as "iso." This drug is in the family of benzimidazole opioids and is derived from another drug called Etonitazene, which is a powerful pain medication. Estimated at 1000x as potent as Morphine the potency of this drug is similar or greater than fentanyl and is a Schedule I controlled substance (No accepted medical use).

Isotonitazene has no current approved clinical use and has a high rate of addiction. The drug is an off-white or white powder and is often pressed into counterfeit opioid pills that may have a M or an 8 stamped one side and to look like Oxycodone or 8mg Dilaudid (hydromorphone) tablet. The symptoms of use are similar to opioids in general. Isotonitazene is considered one of the most persistent and prevalent new opioids.

Naloxone (Narcan) can be used, but multiple doses may need to be administered. The potency of isotonitazene may require more than a usual dose of naloxone to reverse the opioid overdose.

If you need help getting naloxone in your area, please contact the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances by calling 1-833-2FINDHELP (1-833-234-6343), texting "HELP" to 833234, or visiting: www.helplineIL.org.

Please see the press release using the link below:

https://www.dupageco.org/Coroner/Coroner_News/2020/63262/