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What’s in your drugs?

Drugs bought illicitly could contain other, more dangerous drugs: steps to help you reduce harm

It’s becoming increasingly common for cheaper and more dangerous drugs – like synthetic opioids, xylazine and synthetic cannabinoids (Spice) – to be found in the UK’s illicit (non-prescribed) drug supply. 

Many illicit drugs are being mixed with, or being replaced entirely by these more dangerous drugs. As the drug taken might not be what’s expected and could have different effects, there is an increased risk of harm, overdose and death.

Which drugs have been found to contain more dangerous drugs?

A number of more dangerous drug types have been found in batches of drugs sold as a single substance. This includes:

  • Heroin and benzodiazepines containing nitazenes
  • THC vapes containing xylazine or SCRAs/synthetic cannabinoids (Spice)

Drugs are changing all the time, and any substance bought illicitly could contain a more dangerous drug. 

Find out what’s in your drugs: WEDINOS is an anonymous sample testing service. It’s recommended that each new batch is tested, and results will take a few days to come back: 

Steps to help reduce harm, overdose and death

  • It is best not to use alone, or if you’re in a position where there is nobody you could call for help. A buddy system – where one person takes their hit first and waits until the peak effects have worn off before the other person uses – makes it more likely that someone can help in an emergency.
  • What’s in the drug you’re taking and the strength can vary between batches, so start with a small amount, wait to see how it affects you, and space out your doses – even if you use drugs regularly  
  • Try to take one drug at a time, as mixing different drugs, including with alcohol, can increase your risk of harm and overdose.
  • If you think someone has overdosed, put them in the recovery position and get help fast by calling 999, telling emergency services what you know. If you have naloxone – give it. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioid drugs like heroin, methadone and fentanyl. If someone hasn’t overdosed on opioids, naloxone won’t harm them – but if they have, it could save their life.

Signs of an overdose will depend on what substance(s) have been taken, but may include:

  • Not being able to wake someone up
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lips or fingertips with a blue (on lighter skin) or grey (if darker skin) tinge
  • Finding it difficult to walk or talk 
  • Confusion
  • Drug paraphernalia being on the floor

If you’re concerned about your drug use, or if you’re worried about someone you know, contact us on 01782 283 113