Attorney General News Release – Emergency Rule Banning New Synthetic Drugs

May 3, 2022 Domestic Violence, Drug Charges

An emergency rule has been issued by Attorney General Ashley Moody to place a new synthetic drug in the Drug Schedule. The specific emergency rule is targeting the illegal substance known as “nitazenes” and the various compounds under it.

Florida is still currently dealing with dangerous opioids such as fentanyl, which has seen several deadly cases in the last few months. Attorney General Moody issued the emergency ruling to outlaw eight synthetic drugs, to hopefully prevent them from spreading further across the state.

Under the emergency ruling, it is now a felony to make, sell, or deliver any of the following drug compounds that are now categorized under Schedule 1 drugs:

  • Butonitazene
  • Etodesnitazene; Etazene
  • Flunitazene
  • Metodesnitazene
  • N-Pyrrolidino Etonitazene
  • Protonitazene
  • Isotonitazene

We will cover the illicit substances and where they come from, the news release by Attorney General Moody, and drug charges in Florida.

What are Nitazenes?

Nitazenes fall into the synthetic opioid category of drugs, which were developed in the late 1950s. Nitazenes were originally made for pharmaceutical research in Switzerland to find safer opioid analgesics. The research found that there was ultimately no medical accepted use of the drug.

In 2019 there was a surge of isotonitazene that emerged on the illicit drug market. This particular type of drug has been the cause of a large number of overdose deaths in the United States. This caused a temporary categorization of ISO as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act.

Primarily, nitazenes have been found in either a liquid form, or in powders ranging from white, brown, and gray. There have been some instances of the drug being mixed in with other substances. This includes fentanyl, oxycodone, and counterfeit pills.

Authorities believe that these drugs are being manufactured in China and being shipped over to Europe and the United States through mail carriers. There was one case of border control along the California and Mexico border where 1.6 grams of isotonitazene was seized. The drugs are also being found on the dark web, where they are sold for prices ranging from $30 to $200 per gram.

The following is a list of nitazene compounds and its variation in strength compared to morphine and fentanyl:

  • N-pyrrolidino etonitazene/etonitazepyne – 10 times more potent than fentanyl and 1,000 times more potent than morphine
  • Isotonitazene – 5 times more potent than fentanyl and 500 times more potent than morphine
  • Protonitazene – 2 times more potent than fentanyl and 200 times more potent than morphine
  • Metonitazene – Equipotent to fentanyl and 100 times more potent than morphine
  • Metodesnitazene – Equipotent to morphine
  • Flunitazene – Equipotent to morphine

The News Release

Attorney General Ashely Moody published a news release to inform the public about the potential dangers of the various forms of nitazene.

The press release highlights the current dangers of the drugs and how it has been affecting the state of Florida. Since 2020, there have been 268 identified cases involving nitazene. Authorities expect the real number is much higher, but many cases may have not been reported. The counties that have seen the most nitazene cases include Orlando, Tampa Bay, Miami, and Jacksonville. In Pinellas and Pasco County, the District Six Medical Examiner’s Office has reported five confirmed deaths that were related to various forms of nitazene. According to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission, there have been at least ten deaths so far related to the specific isotonitazene drug.

Synthetic opioids continue to be an increasing threat across the nation. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that synthetic opioid-related deaths increased from 2019 to 2020 from 36,359 to 56,688.

Written by Karissa Key

Attorney General Moody stressed the potential threat of abuse nitazene compounds would pose if they continue to take place in Florida. She worries that more deaths will result from the spread of the compounds, which is why she has now placed them all under Schedule 1 drugs.

For the emergency ruling to go through, it must follow the Florida Statute Section 893.035(7)(a) on controlling a substance. It must be proven that the drug or drug compounds are a threat to society under the following factors:

  • If the substance has the potential for abuse
  • The history and current trends/patterns for abuse
  • The scope, duration, and significance of the abuse
  • The overall risk to public health

As of April 26th, 2022, Attorney General Moody issued an emergency rule to outlaw eight of the compounds under nitazene synthetic drugs. The order will now make it a felony to manufacture, possess, sell, or deliver illicit drugs. Her goal for the future is to make the outlaw of the drugs permanent.

“Law enforcement authorities will then have the essential tool they need – a felony charge – to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate persons who manufacture and peddle these dangerous substances,” Moody stated.  

To read the full news release on nitazene compounds, you can find it here.

Drug Charges

The state of Florida takes drug charges very seriously, and there are harsh consequences if you have been convicted of a drug crime. The offenses of a drug crime can range from a misdemeanor to felony depending on the type of drug and the amount in possession. Penalties are even more severe if there is the intent to sell. To find out more about Florida’s Drug Schedule, various drug charges, and penalties, find our informative page here.

Finding a Drug Crimes Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a drug crime, your first move should be to get in contact with an experienced defense attorney. Drugs are extremely dangerous, and aside from the concerns regarding health and safety, there are also brutal penalties if you are caught will illegal substances. Finding the right attorney can help build a defense for your case. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have experience representing clients with various drug charges. They understand the importance of strategizing a defense and working to fight for your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.

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