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'Frankenstein opioids' on the rise in Northeast Ohio

Nitazene cases skyrocket
Posted at 6:01 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 18:20:16-04

CLEVELAND — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is warning Ohioans about an increase in the illegal drug class nitazenes. Nitazenes are a group of synthetic opioids.

According to a bulletin issued by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, nitazene compounds were originally made in the 1950s to research their analgesic effects. They have never been approved for medical use anywhere in the world but are now being manufactured in clandestine labs.

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

According to BCI, in the first quarter of 2021 there were 27 cases compared to the first quarter of this year where BCI reported 143 cases.

“Anytime that you start to see a new drug that you haven’t seen before pop up that way, it is troubling, “said Erin Reed, Project Manager Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 290 people die every day of a drug overdose and now there are fears nitazenes could make things worse.

“Where it becomes really dangerous is when it’s mixed with Fentanyl,” said Tom Gergye, Assistant Special Agent in Charge DEA Cleveland.

That’s why law enforcement officials want to get the word out now before it’s too late.

“Since COVID hit the overdose rate is the worst it’s ever been and this has the potential to keep driving it,” said Yost.

“Any drug that you could be taking from a friend or anybody if it’s not prescribed it could be a lethal dose,” said Gergye.

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