Fentanyl and acetylfentanyl have been found in heroin in central Sydney during January 2021. These drugs were also found in regional NSW and Sydney during November and December 2020.

Use of these drugs can be life-threatening.

Know the risks

  • Heroin may contain dangerously strong opioids like fentanyl, no matter what it looks like. However, there have been recent reports of heroin containing fentanyl and acetylfentanyl that turns purple when mixed with water.
  • Acetylfentanyl and fentanyl are both highly potent opioids and even small doses can cause overdose and even death very quickly.
  • Illicit drugs with variable purity and contents are being seen in NSW in 2021.

Effects to look out for

Overdose symptoms include drowsiness, loss of consciousness, slow breathing/snoring and skin turning blue.

Getting help

If you see the warning signs of overdose:

  • Seek help immediately from your nearest emergency department or call Triple Zero (000). Stay with your mate and on the phone with the operator until the ambulance arrives.
  • If someone is not breathing, start CPR if you know how.
  • Use naloxone if you have it. Call ‘000’ even if naloxone has been given.

Support and advice

For free and confidential advice:

Take Home Naloxone program

  • Naloxone is an easy to use, life-saving medicine that can temporarily reverse an overdose from fentanyl or other opioid drugs. People at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose or who may witness an overdose can get naloxone for free without a prescription from some NSW community pharmacies, NSW Health needle and syringe programs, opioid treatment services and NUAA.
  • Visit Your Room - Naloxone for participating pharmacies and more information on take-home naloxone.

Call '000' even if naloxone has been administered. Repeat doses may be required.

Current as at: Thursday 28 January 2021