A doctor who has treated patients claims that the UK government is lagging in monitoring the spread of potent new drugs known as nitazenes. The National Crime Agency has reported over 100 deaths linked to synthetic opioids, nitazenes, since the summer, indicating a serious public health concern.

Dr. Mark Pucci argues that the current data collection methods significantly underestimate the true numbers of fatalities. This discrepancy raises concerns about the effectiveness of current measures to combat drug-related issues.

In response to the escalating crisis, fifteen synthetic opioids have been reclassified as Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The Home Office has warned that those involved in the supply and production of these substances could face life imprisonment, while possession could result in up to seven years behind bars.

Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasized the government’s commitment to addressing the problem, stating that stringent controls on these dangerous drugs send a clear message about the severe consequences of trafficking them.

Nitazenes are reported to be more potent than heroin and fentanyl, posing a significant threat to public health. The National Crime Agency suspects that illicit labs in China produce nitazenes, which are then smuggled into the UK via postal services.

In the UK, organized crime groups often mix nitazenes with heroin. Moreover, they have been discovered in illicit diazepam tablets, primarily purchased online, raising concerns about the accessibility and prevalence of these substances.

Experts argue that authorities have been slow to respond to non-fatal overdoses related to nitazenes. Establishing a national system to track overdose data could help identify areas of drug proliferation and prevent further fatalities. Currently, overdose figures are collected from local services and are based on tests of seized drugs or samples from users, which may not accurately reflect the scale of the issue.

Dr. Mark Pucci, a consultant in clinical toxicology, has criticized the current data collection methods, asserting that they only scratch the surface of the problem. He believes that England is trailing behind in addressing this issue and must urgently improve its monitoring and response mechanisms.

Recent data suggests that at least 101 deaths in the UK are linked to nitazenes, with the majority occurring in England. However, additional cases are pending further testing, indicating the need for comprehensive and proactive measures to tackle this growing crisis.

The personal account of Matt, who experienced a near-fatal overdose after unknowingly consuming nitazenes, underscores the urgency of addressing this issue. His harrowing experience serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by these potent substances and the importance of effective intervention strategies.