CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia State Police says protonitazene, classified by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators as a new designer opioid, has been recovered in Campbell County.

According to the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, protonitazene is even more powerful and deadly than fentanyl.

Dr. Kimberly Lane, a professor at Radford University’s chemistry department, says the new drug is actually three times more potent than fentanyl, which is already about 100 times more potent than morphine

“I first heard about this maybe a year ago, and really it’s starting to become more of a concern just in the last two, three months it seems like,” Lane said.

Lane says your body reacts to protonitazene the same way it would react to fentanyl, adding that both are depressants, but still provide euphoric effects. The difference is this new opioid binds more tightly to receptors in your brain, which makes the drug more potent.

“Because it’s a fairly new drug, they’re still looking at how it binds and what that might look like,” Lane explained.

She adds that a tight bind on your receptors is also why a single dose of Narcan isn’t as effective.

“It takes more to basically dissociate or kick it off of the receptor,” Lane said.

According to the professor, researchers currently estimate that you need two to three times the Narcan to treat a protonitazene overdose. She adds that researchers also say, field testing may not be effective.