DEA warns new street drug nitazene just as deadly as fentanyl

A new drug that the DEA said is every bit as dangerous and deadly as fentanyl has authorities in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia very concerned.

"It is extremely, extremely lethal and deadly," explained Jarod Forget, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Washington division. "The drug cartels are continuing to change, and they’re evolving. They’re trying new chemicals, new drugs. We’ve seen a transition in how fentanyl is pedaled. Now, we’re seeing counterfeit pills and rainbow-colored fake pills that we’re seeing in our society, and now of course we’re seeing it in this new class of drug called nitazene."

Forget said the drug was first spotted in the District in the summer of 2021 and has since been spotted in Maryland and Virginia as well.

Now, neighboring jurisdictions are worried about nitazene too.

"Quite frankly, this has been a fairly new development, so we wrote a letter to the DEA because we want to get on top of it early," West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said. 

In the letter, he noted that synthetic opioids like fentanyl "are already killing unprecedented numbers of Americans and West Virginians in particular."

READ MORE: DEA reports finding 'rainbow fentanyl' pills in DC region

"We’re trying to get our arms around it to avoid this being an even worse problem then fentanyl if you can ever imagine that," Morrisey told FOX 5. 

He’s not the only one with that specific concern. Dr. Ami Angell of the h3 Project said as of now, the new drug isn’t being talked about enough.

"It’s all about education because even with fentanyl, if we had been more proactive than reactive, lives could have been saved," Angell said.

For more information on the dangers of nitazene visit