An epidemic of drug abuse which has left the United States in a deadly mess is now hitting the UK.
Fentanyl has become the drug of choice for those looking to get a hit on the streets of heavily populated areas such as Pennsylvania and Washington.
And as of May 2023, 109,680 deaths due to overdoses were reported in the space of 12 months, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
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In some areas, especially Washington, there has been a whopping 21% rise in deaths compared to the previous 12 months.
Shockingly, the issue has now taken hold in some areas of the UK, after deaths were reported in Coventry, Bristol, Basildon, Birmingham and Glasgow – with an even stronger type of drug, synthetic opiods known as nitazenes, also being found.
This has forced the Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council to issue an urgent warning, as well as shedding some light on where it's all coming from.
Dr Justin Varney said: “Fentanyl is ten times the strength of heroin, nitazenes are ten times the strength of fentanyl.
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“That’s why people are overdosing.
“The national opium supply chain is disrupted, particularly by the action in Afghanistan, as well as the global war on drugs.
“It means the drug market is turning to synthetic opioids.”
According to several reports, around 95% of Britain and Europe's heroin comes from Afghanistan, with the terror group Taliban raking it in as a result.
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Earlier this year, the UK Government took steps to ban 11 synthetic opioids, making both possession and supplying them leading to a life prison sentence and an unlimited fine.
Policing Minister Chris Philp said: “Synthetic opioids are highly dangerous substances, which ruin lives and devastate communities.
“We must stop these lethal drugs from reaching our streets, to prevent more tragic deaths and other harmful consequences of addiction, from violent crime to antisocial behaviour.
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“Drugs like these erode our society and we accept the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs’ recommendations, to bring proper penalties on their supply.”
Actual deaths from fentanyl on UK streets in the last 12 months is just 25, with data on overall UK deaths from nitazenes unavailable.
The Daily Star has reached out to the Downing Street for a comment.
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