Officials in Norfolk are growing increasingly concerned about the rise in synthetic opioids. 

New forms of the drug, known as nitazenes, are highly illegal and can be hundreds of times more potent than heroin.

They are being brought into the county from abroad and cases of accidental overdose by nitazene have risen countrywide since last summer. 

READ MORE: Care home resident with possible nut allergy died after eating peanut butter on toast

 Nitazenes are being found in a variety of illicit drugs, posing a significant risk to drug users.   

Councillor Bill Borrett, the Norfolk County Council cabinet member for public health and well-being, said: "This new development is extremely concerning - the potential for nitazenes to contaminate illegal drugs used locally and cause potential problems is high.  

READ MORE: WhatsApp leaks, blogs, radio phone-ins... the Norfolk MP at centre of political storm

"The council, as a core member of the Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Partnership, is therefore taking steps to protect Norfolk residents by working with key organisations such as the police, drug treatment services and local NHS partners. 

"We encourage those in the county who use illegal drugs to seek professional guidance from services such as Change Grow Live and The Matthew Project, and take advantage of free treatment to reduce both their reliance on drugs and the likelihood of severe threats to their health."

A National Patient Safety Alert for potent synthetic opioids was issued in July 2023 by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.