Fewer addicts test positive amid 'heroin drought'
The number of addicts testing positive for heroin halved in the past three months, Europe's biggest drug testing company said today.
Concateno said just 21% of drug addicts tested positive for heroin in the first three weeks of the year, compared with an average of 45% between January 2009 and October last year.
But the firm said a "heroin drought" meant suppliers were diluting the drug with other substances and warned that addicts would face an increased risk of overdose if heroin purity returned to higher levels in the future.
The lack of pure heroin "can be attributed to a number of issues including a fungus that has blighted this year's poppy crop in Afghanistan, and greater law enforcement", Concateno said.
Peter Akrill, the firm's head of oral fluids analytical services, said: "This drop in positivity rates corroborates the belief among substance misuse professionals that the UK is currently experiencing a widespread 'heroin drought'.
"Our figures indicate a disturbing trend - with the true drug in short supply, users move to more adulterated forms.
"This situation creates a worrying cycle: a shortage in drug availability at street level can mean it is more likely to be cut with higher proportions of other substances as bulking agents.
"This reduces the active component of the opiate, and a regular user therefore has to ingest a greater quantity of the drug to achieve the same 'hit'.
"From experience, we know that when heroin then becomes available, there is a real and likely chance of increased overdoses and fatalities."
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Alton Towers closed after horror crash on The Smiler raises safety questions for theme park
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...