Warning of dangerous opiates circulating in the West Midlands

Published: Thursday, 3rd August 2023

Authorities have been made aware of dangerous synthetic opiates circulating in the West Midlands.

There is an increased risk of overdose and death because these synthetic opiates are stronger than usual, or because these drugs are contaminated with more dangerous substances.

A co-ordinated response is underway, spearheaded by the West Midlands Local Resilience Forum Strategic Coordinating Group. This partnership involves West Midlands Police, the Local Authorities, West Midlands Ambulance, HM Coroner, the NHS and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID). The local authority Directors of Public Health across the region are actively working with local substance misuse treatment partners to reduce harm and raise awareness of this new threat.

To ensure the safety of the community, the group has worked closely with treatment providers and community partners to directly send alerts to individuals who use drugs, drug workers and treatment providers. Advice and guidance has been shared with healthcare professionals to effectively support and treat patients. 

Anyone using drugs is strongly urged to seek support, advice and treatment from their local drugs and alcohol treatment provider. 

Moreover, we want to emphasise that Naloxone, an antidote to opiate overdoses, can save lives. It is readily available across the region. Local treatment providers can provide training and Naloxone to individuals using drugs as well as to first responders who can administer this life saving treatment quickly.

Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, and Chair of the regional Strategic Co-ordinating Group responding to this challenge said:

“Recently, there has been an increase in synthetic opioids entering the drug market due to global changes in drug supply. These synthetic drugs are stronger and are often mixed with other substances by dealers, resulting in an increased risk of overdose and death.

“Together with our partners, we are committed to raising awareness of the dangers of drug use, and ensuring people know how to access support and treatment for themselves, their family, or friends. We encourage them to contact their local treatment provider to get the support that is available to them.

“In collaboration with first responders and community providers we are actively working to increase access to Naloxone as it has the potential to save lives. We encourage those interested to contact their local substance misuse treatment providers.

“West Midlands Police is leading the criminal investigation and response to tackling the availability of drugs in the region.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Meir from West Midlands Police, said:

“We are continuing to liaise with partners around the increase in dangerous drugs across the West Midlands.

“We fully support the current response working alongside health and local authorities to reduce the risk to our vulnerable communities.

“If anyone has information on drug dealing, please contact us so we are able to take action.”




For media enquiries, please contact press.office@birmingham.gov.uk


Notes to editors

  1. This is a joint statement from the Directors of Public Health in the seven Local Authorities in the Region and the Regional Director of the West Midlands Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (WM OHID).  The Local Authorities are Birmingham City Council, Coventry City Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Wolverhampton City Council.


  1. Access drug support, advice, and treatment for each Local Authority:

Birmingham City Council

Change, Grow, Live - Drug & Alcohol Service - Birmingham | Change Grow Live

Phone: 0121 227 5890


Coventry City Council

Change, Grow, Live - Coventry Drug & Alcohol Service | Change Grow Live

Phone: 024 7601 0241

Email: Coventry.info@cgl.org.uk

Find us: 1 Lamb Street, Coventry City Centre, CV1 4AE


Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Change Grow, Live - Atlantic Recovery Centre - Dudley Info | Change Grow Live

Phone: 01384 426 120

Find us: Atlantic House, Dudley Road, Dudley, DY9 8EL


Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Cranstoun Sandwell - Alcohol and Drug Support | Addiction Services | Cranstoun

Phone: 0121 533 1333

Email: sandwell@cranstoun.org.uk

Find us: Aberta Building, 128B Oldbury Road, Smethwick


Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Solihull Integrated Addiction Services - Contact Us - SIAS (sias-solihull.org.uk)

Phone: 0121 301 4141

Email: enquiries@sias-solihull.org.uk


Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Change, Grow, Live - Help with drugs and alcohol - Walsall - Change Grow Live

Phone: 01922 669840 

Email: thebeacon.walsall@cgl.org.uk 

Find us: 30 Station Street, Walsall, WS2 9JZ 


Wolverhampton City Council

Recovery near you - Wolverhampton Substance Misuse Service (recoverynearyou.org.uk)

Phone: 01902 444030

Find us: 5-9 Pitt Street, Wolverhampton, WV3 0NF


  1. To report a drug-related crime, contact West Midlands Police on the web: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/drug-taking-and-dealing or by calling 101
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