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What Is Isotonitazene and Why Is It Dangerous?

Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and oxycodone have become major drugs of abuse over the last decade. One of the newest drugs to emerge is Isotonitazene, which can be deadly for first-time users. Read more to learn why some are calling this synthetic pain medication the “new fentanyl.”

What is Isotonitazene?

Since the late 80’s, the US has faced a growing opioid crisis, characterized by fatal overdoses in the tens of thousands each year. For most of the last decade, synthetic opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone have been the most prominent drugs of the crisis.

Since the Chinese ban on fentanyl production in 2019 and increasing US regulation on Oxycodone production, new drugs have emerged. One of the newer synthetic opioids to emerge is Isotonitazene.

Isotonitazene, commonly referred to as ISO, is part of a growing trend of synthetic opioids appearing on the black market. It poses a significant challenge for public health and law enforcement agencies due to its potency and the difficulty in its detection.

ISO is significantly more potent than morphine and has been associated with risks of overdose and addiction, similar to other opioids. Due to its potency and increasing availability, some have labeled it the “new fentanyl.”

Since its appearance in the US in 2019, at least several hundred deaths have been attributed to Isotonatizene. It’s currently listed as a Schedule I substance in the United States.

Why is Isotonitazene Dangerous?

Isotonitazene has been called the new fentanyl due to how potent it is. Some reports have called it 20 to 100 times more potent than fentanyl. While direct comparisons are difficult, it’s  safe to say it’s much more potent than both morphine and oxycodone. A fatal opioid overdose is very possible when taking ISO.

Like other opioids, isotonitazene can cause respiratory depression, where breathing becomes shallow or stops altogether. This is the primary cause of fatal opioid overdoses. The risk is higher with more potent synthetic opioids like isotonitazene.

This high potency, combined with the fact it’s often marketed by dealers as being some other, less potent opioid, means an unsuspecting user runs a high risk of overdose.

Adding to all this is the fact that Narcan (naloxone), a medication that can prevent a fatal opioid overdose, doesn’t work on ISO. ISO can thus be disguised as conventional heroin and taken by an unsuspecting user, and first-responders have no way of helping.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Synthetic Opioid Abuse?

Abuse of synthetic opioids like Isotonitazene can lead to various signs and symptoms, both physical and behavioral. It’s important to recognize these signs, as synthetic opioids can be particularly dangerous due to their high potency.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of ISO abuse:

  • Drowsiness or sedation
  • Shallow, slow, or difficult breathing
  • Constricted (small) pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching or flushed skin
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Mood swings, anxiety, irritability, or euphoria
  • Decreased motivation
  • Withdrawal from social activities or responsibilities
  • Doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions)
  • Illicit drug-seeking behaviors, such as buying drugs from non-medical sources
  • Financial problems related to drug procurement

Signs of an ISO overdose include:

  • Blue nails
  • Clammy skin
  • Breathing trouble
  • Unconsciousness
  • Blue or purple fingernails
  • Vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Drowsiness


If you see someone suffering an overdose from Isotonitazene, call medical authorities immediately.

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What Is Isotonitazene Treatment in Orange County Like?

Upon enrolling in our Orange County drug rehab for ISO abuse, you will first go through an assessment process. This evaluation will look for any co-occurring medical or mental health disorders. Following that, you will collaborate with our experts to develop a specific treatment plan. Individual therapy sessions, group therapy, educational courses, and holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation may all be part of this regimen.

Our professionals will be with you every step of the way through your Isotonitazene treatment. Aside from 24/7 support, you’ll also benefit from the relaxing and tranquil environment our facilities provide, allowing you to focus on recovery without distractions.

Throughout your stay, you will be encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities and therapies that promote self-reflection, self-care, and personal development. Our goal is to help you not only overcome your addiction, but also lay the groundwork for a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Choosing the Right Opioid Rehab Center in Orange County

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for ISO addiction, South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help. The first step in treating addiction is a medical detox. This means using drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Our medical detox program in California is staffed by caring and compassionate professionals who can provide you with medications to manage your ISO withdrawal symptoms.

At South Coast, we take pride in offering care that is closely tailored to specific issues. To that end, we offer gender-specific detox programs, with medical detox for men in Irvine, CA, and medical detox for women in Huntington Beach, CA.

After detoxing, proper treatment can begin.

We are open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

Treatment for substance abuse takes place along an entire spectrum of care. Along that entire spectrum are various behavioral therapies, support groups, and the use of medically-assisted treatment (MAT).

These levels of treatment are, in order, as follows:

Residential Treatment in California

After successfully completing ISO detox, you’ll receive inpatient treatment in Orange County California. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling.

We also offer residential treatment facilities in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach for those who desire gender-specific treatment. There, patients get round-the-clock medical attention and monitoring while living at the institution full-time.

In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.

Partial Hospitalization in California

Most clients start substance abuse treatment with South Coast in our residential treatment program. After completing that, many desire something that still provides structure and support, but with extra space and time to oneself. For that, we offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach.

A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, partial hospitalization offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for a number of hours each day, returning back to their homes in the evening.

This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives completely on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment in California

For those leaving inpatient residential treatment or partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are yet another gradual step forward on the road to recovery.

With a focus on group therapy, individual counseling, and education, clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach can meet three to five days a week. Each session lasts three hours.

This level of care requires the least amount of attendance at a facility.

Start Today

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction but wonder how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-881-1184 or contact us here. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea on what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.