Any substance that can get someone high is up for misuse. While cocaine, meth, and morphine abuse are well known and frequent offenders, other lesser-known drugs are always making an appearance. In DuPage County, Illinois, two new illicit street drugs have made an appearance, and the results are deadly.
Opioid overdoses continue to make news, but most talk surrounds heroin and, in recent years, fentanyl. But these drugs are not the only ones causing problems. Some other drugs may have been flying under the radar until now.
Unlike many other areas, DuPage County tests for the presence of 350 different drugs. The samples are sent to NMS labs in Horsham, Pennsylvania to complete the toxicology report.1 Because NMS Labs’ extensive testing, DuPage is often able to detect new drugs that are rising in popularity other surrounding counties may not be testing for. The result has been a recent spike in the presence of Flualprazolam and Isotonitazene in DuPage County coroner reports.
A benzodiazepine, Flualprazolam is a designer drug with tranquilizing and anxiety-reducing effects. It was first synthesized in 1976, but because it was never approved by the FDA, it was never formally marketed. This has not stopped its distribution to various parts of the world. It usually comes in the form of a white pill that is similar in looks to Xanax.
Although it has flown mostly under the radar for several years, in 2019 the Oregon Poison Center reported several people who were intoxicated with Flualprazolam.2 Now DuPage County is finding similar evidence of this drug in its community. The DuPage Coroner’s Office recently reported 11 deaths involving Flualprazolam.3 These Flualprazolam overdoses could increase in number if the drug continues to rise in popularity and other areas begin testing for the presence of Flualprazolam. Because some users may unknowingly take Flualprazolam in place of other benzodiazepines, those addicted to this class of drugs should seek benzodiazepine treatment to quit abuse before this occurs.
One of the other new illicit drugs in DuPage County, Isotonitazene is a powerful opioid that has a high rate of addiction. It is estimated to be 1000 times more potent than morphine which also leads to a high propensity for overdose.3 This white powder drug is sometimes pressed into pills that are meant to mimic other opioids, so some users may fall victim to these powerful counterfeit pills.3
Many places agree that the use of Isotonitazene is on the rise. There were four Isotonitazene overdoses in DuPage County recently that lead the coroner to release a statement of warning. Because many people have become addicted to prescription opioids but have neglected to get prescription pill addiction treatment, they may be turning to stronger opioids to get high or unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way with opioid laced with fentanyl or Isotonitazene.
As an opioid treatment center in DuPage County, we want to help protect our community from the devastation these drugs may bring. It is likely that these new illicit drugs in DuPage County will continue to pop up in the future here and around the country. If you or someone you care about is addicted to benzodiazepines or opioids, avoid the dangers and get help today.
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