For the past six months, the UK has witnessed 54 deaths due to an opioid drug that is found to be stronger than heroin. These synthetic opioids are known as nitrazenes.
According to an article from PubMed, nitrazene was first developed in 1950, but it was not approved for use. It is found to be stronger than morphine and other opioids. It is often found to be mixed with other opioid drugs on the market, but its presence is not disclosed to buyers.
These 54 deaths are not the complete count; still, 40 more cases await results, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA). This nitrazene group of drugs is found to be stronger than heroin and fentanyl. These synthetic opioids are classified as class A drugs by the UK government.
In the UK, opioid drugs came into the spotlight in 2021. In Birmingham, within 2 months, 6 deaths happened due to the Nitrazene group of drugs.
Dr. Justin Varney said that Nitrazene can cause a ‘global drug problem’.
Amy, a 16-year-old nitrazene user, told the media that nitrazene, when mixed with drugs like heroin, is called fentanyl by drug dealers. These drugs look different as they are brown, wet powder-like dark mud. She also said that she is afraid of consuming it and wants to stop using it.
Simeon McAnnoy, a 33-year-old man, was declared dead by paramedics in October this year. It was found that he was taking heroin, which was not known by his family. Mrs. McAnnoy said that the coroner informed her that Nitrazene was found in Simeon’s body on his examination. She wants the government to take action to prevent losing more young people because of these drugs. She also said that, before Simeon’s death, she was not aware of nitrazene.
The NCA suspects that nitrazenes are produced by labs in China and are mixed with heroin when they enter the UK market.
The UK police said that they seized the largest amount of synthetic opioids during their raids in Waltham Forest, North London.
(Input from various media sources)