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Created May 2019


  • [DHE]

DEA CODE 9334: Schedule 2 Narcotic

Aside from common types of opioid medications that are approved for general consumer use via prescription, other types of opioid analgesics are also produced, used and consumed via black markets. Dihydroetorphine is such a substance, which is a derivative of the more-well-known opioid medication etorphine. Etorphine is a potent anesthetic medication and painkiller, primarily used for veterinary purposes such as the sedation of larger animals, including rhinos and elephants.

The opioid analgesic dihydroetorphine is less commonly seen in the United States and mainly used in China. Because dihydroetorphine may be less addictive than other varieties of opioid medications, the Chinese may use this substance as a form of helping individuals come down from stronger opioid addiction. This is similar to how buprenorphine is used in the United States to help manage withdrawals from certain medications. Dihydroethorphine is considered to be a more instantly powerful and potent substance than morphine, and it can produce severe side effects if abused.

Developed in the 1960s, a potent opioid pain reliever which is mainly used in China. It is several thousand times stronger than morphine (between 1000x and 12000x more potent depending what method is used for comparison). It is poorly absorbed when taken orally. Sublingual forms of dihydroetorphine are used in China. Transdermal patches of dihydroetorphine have also been developed. Dihydroetorphine is considered to be somewhat less addictive than many other opioids.

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