24 January 2023
Public Health Scotland has today issued an alert concerning the availability of synthetic opioids in Scotland. There have been seizures of small quantities of drugs belonging to the nitazine group. These have been sold as ‘Oxycodone’ pills or have been found in prison ‘blotted’ into paper.
These drugs are new to the supply of illegal drugs in Scotland and people are being advised to try to avoid these drugs as they may cause harms. In the event that they are used, and people experience an overdose, naloxone should be administered in the usual way advised – and repeat doses should be administered until the person is breathing normally. Two or three minutes should elapse before administering repeat doses.
Dave Liddell, SDF CEO, responded, “Synthetic opioids have entered the illegal drug markets in other countries and have been associated with an immediate rise in overdose deaths. This has not occurred in Scotland but this alert demonstrates why we need to be extremely vigilant about changes in the drug market. In preparation, we should increase the supply of naloxone to people who are vulnerable and those close to them, and we should make sure people using drugs are aware of substances and products of particular concern. SDF is working with others to ensure Scotland is prepared for issues that may arise. The need for the provision of drug checking services for people who use drugs is becoming more urgent.”