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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jul 2023 - 21 Jul 2023

Psychology, Review

Pharmacology/Drug Development



Rev Invest Clin




Fentanyl and other New Psychoactive Synthetic Opioids. Challenges to Prevention and Treatment.


Albores-García D, Cruz SL


Synthetic opioids have played a significant role in the current opioid crisis in the United States (U.S.) and Canada and are a matter of concern worldwide. New psychoactive opioids (NPOs) are classified in the internationally recognized new psychoactive substances (NPSs) category. This group comprises compounds that may have been synthesized decades ago but appeared only recently in the illicit drug market. Such is the case of fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and non-fentanyl opioids. Most NPOs have effects similar to morphine, including euphoria and analgesia, and can produce fatal respiratory depression. Here, we present an overview of the systemic and molecular effects of main NPOs, their classification, and their pharmacological properties. We first review the fentanyl group of NPOs, including the four compounds of clinical use (fentanyl, alfentanil, sufentanil, and remifentanil) and the veterinary drug carfentanil. We also provide essential information on non-medical fentanyl analogs and other synthetic opioids such as brorphine, etonitazene, and MT-45, used as adulterants in commonly misused drugs. This paper also summarizes the scarce literature on the use of NPOs in Mexico. It concludes with a brief review of the challenges to prevention and treatment posed by NPOs and some recommendations to face them.