Isotonitazene drug use becoming more widespread in Estonia

Narcotics. Photo is illustrative.
Narcotics. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

The use of Isotonitazene, a highly dangerous opioid drug, is rising in Estonia, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Sunday night.

The drug, often colloquially known as ISO or "Sobaka" (the Russian word for "dog" - ed.) is an opioid even more potent than Fentanyl.

It is being trafficked into Estonia via Latvia, AK reported, while the problem is most widespread in northern and eastern Estonia.

"Fentanyl-like substances are extremely toxic and their [safe] dosing requires, as it were, a dispensing pharmacist's precision; it is very easy for users to lose track there," Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) northern prefecture drug squad chief Rait Pikaro told AK.

The substance is administered by injection and is even more toxic than fentanyl, Pikaro added, and is particularly dangerous if used in combination with other substances.

"The health consequences of concomitant use are completely unexpected and unforeseen. If the help is not taken immediately, overdose death is a completely possible outcome," he said.

At least 10 of last year's 40 deaths due to drug overdose in Estonia were the result of fentanyl and Isotonitazene use, AK reported.

Isotonitazene a benzimidazole derived opioid which has been sold as a "designer drug" and which was first fully characterized in a November 2019 paper.

Its side effects include itching, nausea and potentially life-threatening respiratory depression.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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