23
May

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Raising Awareness of Dangerous Heroin Batches and the Crucial Role of Naloxone

 

Deadly Heroin Batch Alert

On 21 May 2024, Ellie Harris, a drug support worker from the charity Open Road, warned that a deadly batch of heroin cut with synthetic opioids is circulating in Colchester. The contamination aims to extend the supply amid a UK shortage, but the potency of these batches has proven deadly. Naloxone, a drug that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses, has failed to work in some instances due to the strength of these synthetic opioids. Essex Police have issued warnings to vulnerable drug users and made three arrests following three suspected drug-related deaths in Colchester earlier this month.

Read more here: BBC News

The Rise of Synthetic Opioids: Nitazenes

Nitazenes, a group of synthetic opioids, are between 50 and 500 times stronger than heroin. Between February 2022 and March 2023, these substances were linked to over 101 deaths in the UK. Recognizing their danger, the government placed 15 additional synthetic opioids, including 14 nitazenes, under the strictest controls in March 2024. This action aims to prevent drug-related deaths and ensure severe penalties for those involved in their supply.

Gov.UK Update:

“The fifteen new synthetic opioids which have been made Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 include Metonitazene, Protonitazene, Isotonitazene, and others. These substances are highly addictive and pose a high risk of accidental overdose, warranting the toughest legal controls to deter their production and distribution.”

Source: Gov.UK

The Importance of Naloxone

Despite the increased risk posed by these potent synthetic opioids, Naloxone remains a critical tool in reversing opioid overdoses. The government’s 10-year Drug Strategy, supported by nearly £900 million in additional investment, includes expanding the availability of Naloxone. Organizations like The Loop in Bristol have been proactive in alerting the public about the dangers of nitazenes, emphasizing the need for heroin users to carry Naloxone and seek immediate medical help if an overdose is suspected.

Tidal’s Naloxone Training

To support healthcare and community workers, Tidal Training offers specialized Naloxone training aimed at preparing staff to respond effectively to opioid overdoses. Delivered by qualified clinical trainers, this training enhances the knowledge and confidence of staff, ensuring they are equipped to manage overdoses and understand the risk factors associated with opioid use.

Find out more about Tidal Training Ltd Naloxone Training and call us on 01242 371 999.

Conclusion

Raising awareness about the risks of synthetic opioids and the lifesaving role of Naloxone is crucial. The current situation in Colchester underscores the importance of vigilance, education, and preparedness in combating the opioid crisis. By staying informed and equipped, we can help protect vulnerable individuals and save lives.

Sources:

For more details, please read our previous blog: Addressing the Rise of Synthetic Opioids.