​​Sharp increase in opioid overdoses in the Penrith area in the last month. A nitazene was found in drug samples from the region.

Last updated: 24 April 2024

Know the risks​

  • Drugs thought to be heroin have been found to contain nitazenes in NSW. Some people have reported it appears as a yellowish powder.
  • Nitazenes can be stronger than fentanyl and hundreds of times more potent than heroin. They can cause serious overdose and death.
  • Naloxone can temporarily reverse an overdose from opioids. Nitazenes can last longer in the body than heroin and naloxone. Multiple doses of naloxone are often required. Naloxone may wear off, requiring ongoing doses and hospital treatment.
  • The risks of overdose are increased if you:
    • Use drugs alone.
    • Use drugs again after a break.
    • Use with other drugs (for example alcohol, benzodiazepines, ketamine, or GHB).
    • Use a new batch.
  • Fentanyl test strips do not detect nitazenes.

Effects to look out for

Pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, slow breathing/snoring or skin turning blue/grey.

If you see or experience these get help immediately.

Getting help

If you or your friends see the warning signs of overdose:

  • Seek help immediately from your nearest emergency department or call Triple Zero (000). You won’t get into trouble for seeking medical care.
  • Start CPR if someone is not breathing.
  • Use naloxone if you have it. Call ‘000’ even if naloxone has been given.

Take Home Naloxone program

  • Naloxone is a life-saving medicine that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available in a very easy to use nasal spray, and as a pre-filled injection.
  • You should carry naloxone if:
    • You are using drugs such as heroin and other opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA.
    • You are hosting or going to a party where drugs will be present.  
  • If you might experience or witness an opioid overdose you can get naloxone for free without a prescription in NSW from some community pharmacies, needle and syringe programs, opioid treatment services and NUAA.
  • Visit Your Room for participating sites and more information on take-home naloxone.
  • NUAA can mail you naloxone in a discreet package. Order via their online shop or call (02) 9171 6650. NUAA outreach is available in the Nepean and Blue Mountains area and can deliver naloxone free of charge. Call Exchange on Parker on (02) 4734 3996.

Support and advice

For free and confidential advice:

Current as at: Wednesday 24 April 2024