June 1, 2022 – In powder form, ISO can appear yellow, brown, or off-white in color. DEA regional forensic laboratories have seen this drug mixed into heroin and/or fentanyl (and marketed as common street drugs) with deadly consequences. However, in other parts of the country, ISO has already been seen pressed into counterfeit pills and falsely marketed as pharmaceutical medication (like Dilaudid “M-8” tablets and oxycodone “M30” tablets).

ISO’s high potency comes with an increased risk of overdose – a big issue the DEA Washington Division is currently working to tackle. According to provisional CDC data, in 2021, U.S. drug overdose deaths hit their highest level on record — nearly 108,000 people. Even more concerning: over 75% of those deaths involved a synthetic opioid.

Tragically, many of these overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting these dangerous and extremely potent drugs. The DEA says these synthetic opioids currently can only be properly identified after a lab test, so people don’t realize they’re buying them until it’s too late. We want to get this info out and warn people,” says Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division. “If we can educate and inform our communities about the dangers of taking counterfeit prescription pills or other drugs, we stem the proliferation of these deadly opioids, stop all of these senseless deaths, and help keep our neighbors and loved ones safe. 


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