Drug Alert, Nov 2020 Heroin mixed with Fentanyl has been circulating widely in NSW and has caused multiple overdoses since Nov 19.

NSW Health has released a warning about the presence of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl in heroin circulating around NSW, which some have described as purple in colour.

Fentanyl is a very strong opioid 100x stronger than morphine.

The risk of overdose is much higher if you aren’t a regular opioid user.

Your risk of overdose also increases drastically if you have been using other drugs like alcohol, benzo’s, ketamine or GHB. Opioid overdoses can be reversed by administering Naloxone, which is available for free in participating QuIHN NSPs.


  • Slow, shallow, erratic or no breathing

  • Pinpoint pupils

  • Drowsiness

  • Loss of consciousness/passing out

  • Face is pale or clammy

  • Change in skin tone: bluish/purple for lighter skinned people, and greyish for darker skinned people


  • Always call 000 ASAP if you feel unwell or a friend overdoses.

  • Use naloxone (nasal spray or syringe). Call 000 even if naloxone has been given

  • If your friend is breathing, put them into recovery position.

  • If they aren’t breathing, start giving CPR immediately.


  • Avoid mixing opioids with benzos or alcohol.

  • Avoid using alone. If you do, ring a friend and get them to stay on the phone until after you hit.

  • If using in a group, don’t all use at the same time – group overdose is common with fentanyl.

  • Get naloxone and carry it with you

  • Check your drugs any way you can – use fentanyl test strips, ask your dealer about the gear, use a small amount first.