RED DRUG ALERT – For Information

T –Red = urgent action to prevent confirmed risk of death
Amber = action to prevent possible harm
Green = for information only

Date: 25TH of August, 2021(updated 14th Sept, 2021)
Location of Incident: Peterborough, Cambridge City (also 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
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. It is a very hazardous substance and has been directly linked to drug overdose/deaths.
In the past few weeks 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).
On the 24th August, there were 2 non-fatal overdose incidents in Cambridge City. On the 13th Sept, there were 3 non-fatal overdoses in Peterborough. All of which may potentially be linked to the above cutting agent. Please advise heroin 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. If you have any further queries, please contact Susie Talbot or Joe Keegan at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Public Health Team

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