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  • Public Health Alert – Nitazenes

Public Health Alert – Nitazenes

Dec 21, 2023 | News


  • Nitazenes are highly-potent synthetic opioid drugs.
  • Nitazenes have been detected in street drugs sold as opioids but also in other street drugs including benzodiazepines and cocaine. Nitazenes may therefore be consumed unintentionally and/or by people who primarily or exclusively consume drugs other than opioids.

·       Where nitazenes are present, they may precipitate rapid and profound opioid toxicity, even in people who regularly consume opioid drugs. Naloxone is effective in reversing this but close monitoring and frequent, multiple doses may be required.

  • Nitazenes are known to be present in the west of Scotland. They have been found with increasing frequency in toxicology samples from people who have presented to hospital with drug toxicity, as well as in post-mortem samples from people who have had a drug-related death (see attached update).
  • There is currently an increased level of concern about nitazenes both nationally and locally, particularly over the coming Christmas period when people’s drug consumption behaviours and the drug supply market may change.


·       Please ensure that all relevant staff in your service are aware of the clinical implications of nitazenes and that they are in circulation, and may have been consumed by people presenting with overdose (including people who do not report having knowingly consumed them and/or any other opioids).

·       Please print and display the nitazene alert poster within your services and public areas, available to download in different sizes here: Nitazene alert posters

·       When providing care for patients who use drugs, please take the opportunity to raise their awareness of nitazenes and of the measures that they can take to minimise risk. A patient booklet is available and can be downloaded here: Nitazene patient booklet

·                 Naloxone can be accessed through the following services:

  • NHSL Harm Reduction team – 0781 0153940 or 01698 753657
  • Turning Point Scotland – 0808 1714040
  • North Lanarkshire Recovery – 07920 234 693
  • Phoenix Futures – 01236 426385

·        Please ensure you are familiar with the previous PHS / RADAR alert on nitazenes which includes setting-specific guidance Alert on nitazene-type opioids

·        Information on local support services, and their opening times over the festive period, can be found on the Alcohol and Drug Partnership websites:  NL ADP  SL ADP

·       Additional downloadable materials (posters, booklets) are available here Stop the deaths resources

Nitazenes update November 23

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