POLICE have warned about the rise in synthetic opioids like nitazenes or fentanyl.

The warning comes after detectives say several overdoses in the Evesham area are directly attributed to nitazenes, particularly N-Desethyl-Isotonitazene.

Police have said they have seen a rise in incidents across South Worcestershire and have anecdotal evidence suggesting 20 overdoses have occurred within West Mercia because of the drugs.

Synthetic opioids are a man-made drug that aims to mimic the effects of natural opioids such as opium or heroin. 

The product, often sold as heroin or mixed in with it, is significantly stronger than the drug.

West Mercia Police have expressed how "incredibly dangerous" and when taken at the exact dosage as natural opioids, the effects can be fatal.

In one instance, police said drug users had bought what they thought was heroin, but instead, the substance contained paracetamol, caffeine and nitazene.

A suspected drug dealer with substances in their possession containing nitazene was recently arrested in south Worcestershire.

Detective sergeant Luke Papps of South Worcestershire County Lines team said: “The danger with these synthetic opioids is they look exactly like heroin, but nitazenes, for example, are significantly stronger than heroin, so there is clearly an increased risk to the user.

“As soon as we became aware of them being sold in our area, we liaised with drug charities like Cranstoun, as well as Public Health England to alert them of the potentially contaminated heroin.”

Users can take Naloxone, which is often given to them by drug addiction services, but they are advised to seek immediate hospital treatment if they believe they have taken nitazenes.

How can you reduce the risk of accidentally taking synthetic opioids?

There are several steps drug users can take to reduce the risks posed by unknowingly taking synthetic opioids.

  • Don’t take drugs alone- have someone who isn’t intoxicated there to watch out for you.
  • Take a lower initial dose than usual and wait before continuing.
  • If possible, have an opioid antidote, Naloxone, to hand.
  • Don’t mix different types of drugs.
  • Call for help immediately if you begin to feel unwell

Further information on synthetic opioids, including the risks, is available through Talk to Frank- Synthetic Opioids | Effects of Synthetic Opioids | FRANK (talktofrank.com).

If you’re concerned about drug use, there are lots of local organisations who can help.