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Home > Report on good practices of synthetic opioid preparedness, and needs and challenges in EU Member States.

Viskari, Inari and Tammi, Tuukka (2021) Report on good practices of synthetic opioid preparedness, and needs and challenges in EU Member States. The Netherlands: SO-PREP. Deliverable D3.2.

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External website: https://so-prep-project.eu/publications/


Highly potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its derivatives are a growing concern in Europe. Since 2009, 57 new synthetic opioids have been detected on Europe's drug market — including eight reported for the first time in 2019. In 2019 only two of these opioids were fentanyl derivatives. This is the first time that more novel non-fentanyl synthetic opioids than fentanyl-derivatives were identified (EMCDDA, 2020a). New synthetic opioids pose a high risk of overdose to consumers, because they are often much more potent than ‘traditional’ opioids like heroin.

In the United States, the opioid epidemic has been called the "most consequential preventable public health problem." Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of fifty-five, and synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl and its analogues) are responsible for most of these deaths. Also in Canada the numbers of synthetic opioid-related deaths are very high.

There is a growing concern that similar developments might occur in Europe. Fentanyl-related deaths have been increasing in some European countries in recent years (EMCDDA, 2019a). With Europe being a mosaic of different countries, cultures, and health systems, European countries can try to learn from each other’s experiences. The project SO-PREP aims to strengthen European countries' preparedness and response to the threat and potential harm from potent synthetic opioids.

The aim of this report is to explore existing strategies and good practices of preparedness for dealing with a potential synthetic opioid crisis in Europe, and to identify needs and challenges and propose recommendations to strengthen EU Members States’ synthetic opioid preparedness.

Item Type
Report
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Opioid, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Policy
Date
2021
Identification #
Deliverable D3.2
Pages
32 p.
Publisher
SO-PREP
Place of Publication
The Netherlands
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