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  • Writer's pictureDASA

Nitazene – A Deadly New Opioid in Australia

Nitazenes are a highly potent synthetic opioid that have recently emerged on the Australian drug market.

Developed in the 1950s for pain relief, nitazenes were never approved for human consumption due to their adverse effects and high risk of overdose. We are, however, hearing more and more about nitazenes. That’s because, according to authorities, attempts to import this drug into Australia have increased in recent months. The potency of nitazene, together with the fact that it is often disguised as other drugs like cocaine or heroin, make this a particularly dangerous development.

In October last year, 742 nitazene tablets were seized by the Australian Federal Police. In a separate case, charges were laid against an individual for importing nitazene (among other illicit drugs) to sell online. Health officials are also concerned about a cluster of nitazene overdoses reported in Sydney. Also, in a worrying development, traces of nitazenes have been detected in a range of recreational drugs. It seems nitazene is finding its way into heroin, fentanyl and street versions of opioid pills such as oxycodone, with users unaware that they are taking such a deadly substance.

How deadly? Well nitazene can be as strong or stronger (up to 50 times) than fentanyl and fentanyl is hundreds of times more potent than heroin. In short, there is no safe amount of nitazene, even small doses can be deadly. Officials urge anyone considering using this drug to understand the extreme risk they're taking.

When it comes to the workplace, awareness is key. Educating your workers about nitazene and the extreme risk it poses, is a proactive first step in managing this issue. Equally, equipping managers and supervisors to deal with a potentially intoxicated worker reduces the risk of incidents escalating.

DASA can help with training and education on this and many other drug and alcohol issues. Our material is developed in-house by experts to be informative, engaging and practical. For more information on our training and education material, call us today on 1300 230 231 or send us an email to

If you would like to know more about synthetic opioids, join Associate Professor David Allen at 11am on Wednesday 31st July for our free webinar “The Rise of Synthetic Opioids”.

Click here to register.


DASA (Drug and Alcohol Solutions Australia) is proud to be leading the way in workplace drug and alcohol testing services throughout Australia. Whether your need is for workplace drug and workplace alcohol testing, advice on drug and alcohol policy or ideas on how to communicate your workplace expectations, policies and procedures to your staff, DASA can help. We have the experience, technical expertise and people to lead you to the right solution.



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