Guernsey drug users 'abusing class A painkiller'

A class A painkiller is being stolen and abused by drug users in Guernsey, authorities have revealed.

Fentanyl, which is used by cancer patients and people experiencing chronic pain, is being used locally as a substitute for heroin.

Andrea Nightingale, Drug and Alcohol Strategy Coordinator, said people were obtaining the drug from people's homes and pharmacies in Guernsey.

Fentanyl is more potent than morphine and can also be used as an anaesthetic.

Fentanyl

  • Used medically as a painkiller or anaesthetic
  • Can be hundreds of times more potent than morphine
  • Known as synthetic heroin, can be dissolved in water and injected
  • Estimated lethal dose of pure fentanyl is 2mg
  • Suppresses breathing reflex: overdose can lead to coma and death

Ms Nightingale said Guernsey drug users were well known for finding alternatives to illegal substances.

She said this came in part as a result of successful operations by the Guernsey Border Agency aimed at stopping illegal drugs from entering the island.

Ms Nightingale said that abuse of prescription drugs was an ongoing problem in the island.

She said fentanyl could be lethal when mixed with alcohol or taken in high doses, and could cause people's organs to shut down.

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