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Government takes action against deadly synthetic opioids

Home Secretary seeks expert advice to tighten restrictions on Brorphine and Metonitazene

The Home Secretary has commissioned the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to advise on tightening controls on Brorphine and Metonitazene, ahead of them being banned in the UK, the Home Office announced yesterday (Wednesday 15 June).

Brorphine, known as “purple heroin” and similar to fentanyl, can cause life-threatening respiratory depression and arrest. It has been detected in fake pain medication tablets, such as oxycodone, and in blood samples of at least 60 fatal and non-fatal overdoses abroad involving users of multiple substances.

Reports have shown that the effects of Metonitazene, another synthetic opioid, indicated a potency of between 30 and 200 times that of morphine and it has been linked to at least 20 deaths in the US.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

Drugs destroy lives and devastate families and communities, which is why I’m acting now to prevent further loss of life and to stop criminals profiting from others’ misery.

This forms part of our 10-year drugs strategy to drive down demand, tackle the supply of narcotics and make our streets safer, and we will carefully consider the ACMD’s expert advice on tightening the restrictions of these deadly substances.

Before controlling these drugs, the Home Secretary has a legal duty to commission the ACMD to advise her on the appropriate classification and scheduling under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and associated Regulations.

Currently the two substances are captured by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, which means that whilst supply is unlawful, possession is not.

Due to the concerning reports about the effects of these two substances, the UK alongside other countries voted in favour of international controls at The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs earlier this year.

The Government’s 10-year drugs strategy provides a whole-system approach to tackling the harm associated with illegal drug use and supply.

The strategy involves measures such as:

  • dismantling over 2,000 county lines;
  • investing a record £780m in the drug treatment system to get people off the drugs that fuel crime in the first place; and
  • delivering a generational shift in demand for illegal drugs, ensuring people face tougher consequences for so-called recreational misuse.
Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-action-against-deadly-synthetic-opioids

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