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Virginia County Reports Presence of Opioid More Deadly Than Fentanyl

Fentanyl is already 50 times more potent than heroin.
The DEA seized 32,000 fake pills made to look like legitimate prescription pills on July 8th and 9th in Omaha, Nebraska. (DEA)
The DEA seized 32,000 fake pills made to look like legitimate prescription pills on July 8th and 9th in Omaha, Nebraska. (DEA)

Virginia State Police say they have recovered a synthetic opioid even more powerful and deadly than fentanyl, according to a local report. 

Protonitazene is a new synthetic opioid that is around three times more powerful than fentanyl – which is already 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. 

In December, the Center for Forensic Science Research & Education warned that “nitazenes” were gaining traction across the United States and Canada. 

Dr. Kimberly Lane, a chemistry professor at Radford University, told WFXR-TV that protonitazene binds tighter to receptors in the brain, making it more potent. She said the drug has started to become a concern in just the last few months. 

“Because it’s a fairly new drug, they’re still looking at how it binds and what that might look like,” Lane said. 

Narcan is a lifesaving drug used to help people experiencing overdoses. A single nasal spray is usually sufficient to help someone experiencing an overdose caused by fentanyl. However, someone may need two to three times that in order to treat a protonitazene overdose. 

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