NSW Health warns cocaine users are overdosing on heroin

One person has died and others have been hospitalised in the past week from heroin overdoses after they consumed a drug they thought was cocaine.

NSW Health said the drug was circulating around Sydney and all of the people affected were aged in their 30s.

“We’ve seen heroin overdose among people using what they thought was cocaine,” NSW Poisons Information Centre medical director Darren Roberts said in a statement on Wednesday.

“A heroin overdose could quickly result from snorting a single line.

“It’s important that people recognise the signs of an opioid overdose early and know how to respond.”

Dr Roberts said opioids could cause pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, slowed breathing or snoring, and skin turning blue or grey.

“One of the dangers of illicit drug supply is the strength and contents of the substance you are getting is unknown and can be inconsistent,” he said.

“In light of this detection, people who use cocaine should also consider carrying naloxone.”

Naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioids, does not require a prescription and is free for anyone at risk of opioid overdose in NSW.

It is available as a nasal spray or injection.

Originally published as NSW Health warns of heroin overdoses among people who think they are consuming cocaine

Cristeen Gonzama

Cristeen Gonzales writes about health and medicine. She tends toward stories that reveal the on-the-ground impact of health policy, with a particular focus on the opioid epidemic, Covid-19 and abortion.

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