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Deadly "gap filler": Zombie drug also reaches Austria

2023-12-06T04:28:51.174Z

Highlights: Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and often leads to death. In the U.S., around 2022 million doses of fentanyl were seized in 379. Between 35,000 and 40,000 people use high-risk opioids (often in combination with other illicit drugs, alcohol or psychotropic drugs) Around 50 percent of them are based in the Austrian capital Vienna. Eight percent of those affected are under 25 years old, 31 percent are 25 to 34 years old and 61 percent are 35 years or older.



Status: 06.12.2023, 05:07 a.m.

By: Michelle Brey

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Fentanyl is particularly dangerous when consumed unknowingly, for example with Herion. © Theissen/Imago

The consumption of fentanyl also plays a role in Germany's neighbouring country. It becomes 50 times more potent than heroin and often leads to death.

Vienna – The drug fentanyl is a huge problem in the United States. According to zdf.de, more than 2021,70 people lost their lives to overdoses in 000 alone. In Germany, the opioid, which is also called a "zombie drug", has already arrived. And fentanyl is also apparently being consumed more and more frequently in neighboring Austria.

Drug use in Austria: What role does the "zombie drug" fentanyl play in the neighbouring country?

The "Report on the Drug Situation 2022" provided some facts about drug use in the Alpine republic. It was commissioned by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon, and the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.

  • Between 35,000 and 40,000 people use high-risk opioids (often in combination with other illicit drugs, alcohol or psychotropic drugs).
  • Around 50 percent of them are based in the Austrian capital Vienna.
  • About three-quarters of those affected are men.
  • Age distribution: Eight percent of those affected are under 25 years old, 31 percent are 25 to 34 years old, and 61 percent are 35 years or older.

With regard to drug-related deaths (fatal overdoses), there was a strong increase in Austria in 2021 compared to previous years. This is according to the "Epidemiology Report on Addiction 2022".

YearDrug-related deaths
2021235
2020191
2019196
2018184

As Gottfried Jakober, managing director of Suchthilfe Salzburg, told Heute.at, fentanyl is "sporadically used as a substitute drug" in Austria. The exact figures are not known at first. The 2022 Drug Situation Report stated that "only anecdotal reports" are available, referring to synthetic opioids, which include fentanyl.

"Gap filler" fentanyl: Drug also arrived in Austria

"Fentanyl is used as a kind of gap filler for other regular use of other drugs," Jakober continued. Initially, the opioid still plays a subordinate role in the context of counselling. In Vienna, fentanyl is "not an issue", both Ewald Lochner, coordinator for psychiatry, addiction and drug issues of the city of Vienna, and the addiction and drug counselling Kolping explained to the Austrian portal. "It is important that, in addition to the exchange across national borders, prevention also takes place across the board," says Lochner. International developments would be closely monitored.

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Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. However, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl or nitazene are often added to the latter. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is approved for the treatment of severe pain, such as advanced cancer. The name "zombie drug" came from the slumped, bent posture and uncontrolled movements that consumption causes in humans. In the U.S., around 2022 million doses of fentanyl were seized in 379. (mbr)

Source: merkur

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