20 Apr 2024

Synthetic opioid found in fake diazepam - DIANZ

7:05 pm on 20 April 2024
The fake diazepam tablet was blue, circular and had no markings, says DIANZ.

The fake diazepam tablet was blue, circular and had no markings, says DIANZ. Photo: DIANZ

A highly potent synthetic opioid, N-Desethyletonitazene, has been detected in a fake diazepam tablet.

A sample of the substance was submitted to a New Zealand Needle Exchange Programme drug checking clinic in Wellington, and analysis by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research determined it contained N-Desethyletonitazene.

Drug Information and Alerts Aotearoa New Zealand (DIANZ) posted on its High Alert website, warning that people who take the tablet - believing it to be diazepam - are at significant risk of harm, including death, even from a single tablet.

How to identify the drug:

  • blue
  • circular
  • no markings
  • possibly available as a blue powder

The opioid was found in a blue tablet in Wellington and was possibly in circulation around New Zealand, DIANZ said.

"It is important to never assume that what you have is the same as what you are being told it is. Misrepresentation can occur anywhere along the supply chain.

"High Alert urges extreme caution should you chose to take these tablets and testing is recommended to help minimise the risk."

Users could take tablets for testing to free, confidential drug checking clinics across the country, including KnowYourStuffNZ, the NZ Drug Foundation and NZ Needle Exchange Programme.

"If you or someone you know take this substance and start to lose consciousness or breathe slowly, call 111 immediately. Tell them what you think has been taken and that it could be an opioid overdose."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs