Home > Drug Harms Assessment and Response Team. Quarterly summary for professionals: May 2021.

Public Health England. (2021) Drug Harms Assessment and Response Team. Quarterly summary for professionals: May 2021. London: Public Health England.

PDF (Quarterly summary for professionals: May 2021)


1. Opioids: provisional drug treatment data for April 2020 to February 2021 suggests that deaths of opiate users in treatment in England are higher than expected and not caused directly by coronavirus (COVID-19).
2. Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs): acute harms have increased while chronic issues and use may have decreased. Deaths registered in 2019 where SCRAs were mentioned were more than double than in 2017 despite becoming less commonly detected in drug seizures.
3. Sedatives and dissociatives: following a national alert in July 2020, reports of the availability of, and harm from, illicit drugs sold as benzodiazepines continue. Most illicit benzodiazepines no longer contain the substances they are sold as.
4. Stimulants
5. Other substances: there have been ongoing reports of increasing use and harm associated with gabapentinoids, and infrequent reports of severe respiratory depression, including some cases without accompanying opioid use.
6. General clinical advice and updates
7. Recent statistics and other data sources

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
All substances, Cannabis, CNS depressants / Sedatives, CNS stimulants, Cocaine, Opioid, New psychoactive substance, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
May 2021
11 p.
Public Health England
Corporate Creators
Public Health England
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
Related (external) link

Repository Staff Only: item control page