Street-heroin shortage

Clinical Update Icon

COVID-19 is impacting on all aspects of life at present - including the UK's illicit drug markets.

As governments close borders and reduce the movement of people, the supply routes of illicit drugs and their availability across UK markets will be significantly reduced.

When significant reductions in the availability and purity of heroin have occurred in the past, the result has been changing patterns of us with more people seeking drug treatment.

During these periods we have also seen other trends such as heroin being cut with other drugs and bulking agents.

People who use heroin and have impaired lung function are at greater risk of respiratory depression. This is particularly true for groups such as people who are homeless.  They are at increased risk of catching coronavirus and suffering the symptoms of COVID-19.

Also, at the same time continued heroin use will exacerbate the risk of overdose and respiratory depression.

Services will have a critical role to play in offering rapid access to Naloxone.

Please can we be aware of our own security around controlled drugs - especially Morphine and the potential increase in people attempting to obtain it.

This clinical update can be downloaded as a PDF document using the link below.


 Published 25th March 2020

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