DOCTORS have been warned that super-strength synthetic heroin could be circulating in Wiltshire.

It comes after the discovery last month of a batch of heroin laced with fentanyl.

Sometimes used as a prescription painkiller, the synthetic opioid comes from the same family of drugs as heroin – but can be up to 50 times more potent. Only small quantities of the drug can be taken without potentially deadly consequences.

Wiltshire Police seized drugs contaminated with Fentanyl on December 19 from a 54-year-old Frome man arrested in Devizes.

When it was tested by laboratory technicians, the 36 grams of brown powder was found to contain cyclopropyl-fentanyl, diamorphine, caffeine and paracetamol.

Change Grow Live (CGL), which supports drug addicts in Swindon, warned GPs in the town that the potentially lethal fentanyl could be circulating in Swindon.

They advised drug users not to take substances that appear “different from usual”, not to use drugs alone and to seek medical help immediately if they notice “unusual” symptoms in themselves or someone they know.

In a joint statement, CGL and Swindon Borough Council’s public health team said: “This drug alert was put out earlier this month and all the current indications are that this was an isolated incident.

“Drug alerts are commonly used to ensure that local agencies involved in the care and support of people who misuse substances are informed and able to respond to any risks appropriately.

“To date, no positive test results have been returned that confirm any presence of fentanyl.”

A town centre rough sleeper said this week that he had not heard about fentanyl circulating in batches of heroin in Swindon: “I have heard about it a couple of months ago, but it wasn’t around here. It was up north.”

Last August, the National Crime Agency said that at least 60 people had died in the previous eight months after taking fentanyl. The majority of the deaths were in Yorkshire, Humberside and Cleveland.

Det Supt Pat Twiggs of West Yorkshire Police told the BBC at the time: “People are playing Russian roulette with their lives by taking this stuff. That’s why we would strongly recommend to the drug-using community to stay away from it.

“The business is not done under lab conditions, it’s not done by scientists, it’s done in a very uncontrolled way by people seeking out profit. This is why we’re concerned when you’re dealing with such toxic chemicals.”

For support with drugs, contact CGL on 01793 401720.