Nitazenes - now a growing UK drug problem

Nitazenes – now a growing UK drug problem

You’ve heard of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that’s been wreaking havoc. Well, there’s a new deadly player in town, and it goes by the name of nitazene. This drug is so potent that one tiny dose no bigger than a grain of sand can stop you from breathing entirely.

Let me paint you a grim picture from the UK…

Over just one month, six inmates tragically lost their lives at HMP Parc prison in Bridgend, South Wales. Authorities believe four of those deaths were likely caused by nitazene contamination. Talk about a wake-up call.

What Exactly Is This Nightmarish Nitazene?

Nitazenes are manmade opioids that can be a staggering 500 times more powerful than morphine. Get this – they’ve been surfacing in at least twenty different areas across the UK since September of last year.

These aren’t your garden-variety drugs either. Nitazenes have been creeping into the illegal heroin trade, but they’re also being found in counterfeit anti-anxiety medications sold on shady online pharmacies and the dark web.

For context, fentanyl is considered around 100 times stronger than morphine. Now imagine a drug five times as potent as that hitting the streets. It’s a terrifying thought.

Authorities Are Sounding the Alarm

Unsurprisingly, law enforcement is raising major red flags. Detective Inspector Steve Jones of South Wales Police stated bluntly:

“A fast-track process has been undertaken and identified the presence of nitazene-based substances in connection with all four deaths.”

He added that traces of the synthetic cannabis “spice” were also found in two cases. With such a deadly substance in circulation, every effort is being made to investigate and contain this growing crisis.

The UK’s largest nitazene bust came in October 2022, with a staggering 150,000 tablets seized. But for every major score, many more doses could be slipping through the cracks undetected.

An Uphill Battle Against Escalating Opioids

Despite the Home Office’s attempt to crackdown by declaring 15 new drugs (including 14 nitazene compounds) as Class A substances this year, experts remain skeptical about whether it will truly curb the influx.

According to the BBC, the ease of cooking up new opioid analogues in illicit labs makes it an endless game of cat-and-mouse for authorities. Underground chemists simply tweak the molecular structure to create new unregulated iterations.

As narcotics analyst Alan Hobbins grimly stated: “They can produce 100 [opioid] compounds with a slight twist of the chemical chain…It’s a nightmare.”

The Harsh Reality of Nitazene’s Impact

Let’s bring this back to the devastating human toll. HMP Parc isn’t just some isolated case – the UK has been battling a crisis of drug-related deaths for years now.

In 2021 alone, there were over 4,800 fatal poisonings linked to drug misuse, a staggering 7% rise from the previous year. Nitazenes and other synthetic opioids are only exacerbating this vicious cycle.

Each number represents a precious life cut short, leaving behind loved ones drowning in anguish and an entire community suffering the shockwaves. We can’t allow these lethal narcotics to keep slipping through the cracks unchecked.

Whether through bolstered enforcement, education, or a total rethinking of drug policies, something has to change. Nitazene is the latest, but certainly not the last, such threat to grip our streets. This dangerous new frontier of supercharged opioids demands an urgent, multifaceted response before more lives are lost.

Photo: “Nitazenes” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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