AMBER DRUG ALERT – For Information                                         


Date: 20TH of August
Location of Incident: Essex, London Boroughs, and the South East
Drug of concern: Heroin
Identified risk: High risk of overdoses,

Drug related deaths


Source of information: Public Health England
Alert instigated by: Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Public Health


Dear all,


Public Health England have issued a warning to heroin users as part of a National Patient Safety Alert regarding a potentially lethal cutting agent currently in circulation.  The cutting agent in question is isotonitazene – a synthetic opioid analgesic, which is similar to fentanyl, only 60 times more potent. It is a very hazardous substance and has been directly linked to drug overdose deaths.

In the past 10-14 days there has been an unprecedented number of overdoses (with some deaths) in people who use drugs, primarily heroin, in 5 London Boroughs, Hampshire, Essex, West Sussex, Dorset and Thames Valley). The Council also issued an AMBER alert back in July linked to the same opioid analgesic following overdoses and deaths in Northamptonshire.


There is no evidence as yet to confirm that this contaminated heroin is in circulation across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, but we are distributing this information for awareness purposes and in recognition that supply routes will cross county boundaries. Drugs in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough pass through these areas as part of the supply chain.


  • Please advise users you come into contact with to take extra caution if they are using substances.


  • Please ensure that harm reduction messages are robust and shared with all drug users.


  • Please urge users to share information with services and their peers and report any concerns as soon as possible.


  • If users or their peers feel unwell after using heroin please call an ambulance immediately.


For prevention purposes we encourage all heroin users to carry a naloxone kit, Naloxone saves lives.  Naloxone kits are free and can be accessed through CGL services.


Peterborough-CGL Aspire 0800 111 4354 or 01733 895 624

Cambridgeshire CGL 0300 555 01 01


Thank you for your assistance in preventing further fatalities or harm.


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