Etorphine: Use of the Drug, Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Man on suffering from drug withdrawl

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Many people are more familiar with opioid drugs and the brand names of this category of medications that are frequently offered and marketed. The lesser known analgesics of the opioid drug are also important to be aware of, particularly if working in a field in which these substances are used and/or prepared.

Etorphine is type of opioid analgesic that is semi-synthetic. Unlike other opioid drugs that are prepared from the substance that generally occurs in the opium poppy extract, Etorphine was originally prepared from oripavine, or the “poppy straw” in related opioid plants, Papaver bracteatum and Papaver orientale.

Conventional Uses of Etorphine

Elephants playing with each other before sedation with EtorphineThe only current legal uses for Etorphine are largely for veterinary purposes, commonly to immobilize large mammals, such as elephants and rhinoceroses. The potency of Etorphine is approximately 1000 times that of morphine and is typically given to mammals via a projectile syringe dart. Outside of use in a general veterinary practice, qualified health professionals and pharmacists who are authorized to handle the substance may also use Etorhpine for research purposes.

This substance is listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States and is not typically manufactured in the country. Outside supplies of this substance are usually imported from the United Kingdom and/or Germany for veterinary purposes.

Misuse of Etorphine

Police car responding to misuse of EtorphineThe drug Etorphine, although difficult to obtain and possess, can become a misused substance if in the wrong hands. Trafficking or manufacturing of the substance without authorization can lead to not only legal difficulties but potential for misuse as well. If you or someone you know has had possession of the drug or any form of it, it is important to seek out professional help and assistance immediately.

High incidences of side effects have been observed with the use of large mammals in veterinary practices and can undoubtedly prove fatal with accidental human ingestion. Qualified health professionals, as with all drugs and substances, should regulate Etorphine, only.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What do you think are potential dangers associated with the drug Etorphine?

Crystal Karges photo

About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 21, 2016
Published on

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.