“Rising Concerns Over Deadly Synthetic Opioid Nitazene: A Threat to Australian Streets”

Australia, Police


In an alarming development, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) have recently issued a joint public warning against a potentially lethal synthetic opioid, nitazene, which is threatening to hit Australian streets.

This year alone, authorities have noticed an escalating trend in attempted imports of nitazene, a dangerous, illicit synthetic opioid, that is equally or more potent than fentanyl.

ABF officers identified a staggering total of 22 detections of suspected nitazene imports within postal packages sent to Australia from the United Kingdom in October 2023.

From these confiscations, the AFP seized 742 tablets confirmed to contain metonitazene, marking a significant increase from only two previous instances of such synthetic opioid detections.

In one case, a Northern Territory man was charged for allegedly importing 5 grams of metonitazene through mail cargo from the UK to the Northern Territory last year.

The AFP initiated an investigation after receiving a referral from the Commonwealth Agencies Operation Centre (CAOC) regarding a suspicious package potentially containing synthetic opioids destined for the Northern Territory.

Nitazene and its dangerous variants, disguised as common drugs like cocaine, heroin, or MDMA, come in various forms including powders, tablets, nasal sprays, and vape liquids.

AFP Commander Paula Hudson emphasized the severe health risks associated with nitazenes, often resulting in overdose or death.

Commander Hudson also warned that nitazenes pose risks when combined with other illicit drugs.

ABF A/g Commander Asha Patwardhan expressed deep concern about the potential for nitazenes to cause significant community harm in Australia.

Committed to preventing illegal imports, the ABF plans to continue pre-, post-, and border intervention activities to curtail the illicit drug supply chain and shield the Australian community.

With recent seizures and an increasing trend in synthetic drug import attempts, the AFP and ABF remain steadfast in disrupting drug trafficking and minimizing risks to the Australian community.

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