A Deadly Synthetic Street Drug Called ‘Benzo Dope’ Is on the Rise

FRANCISCO GARCIA

The emerging drug contains two highly-potent highs, fentanyl and etizolam, and has been linked to a string of drug deaths in Canada.

Fatal overdoses are more likely to occur after using benzo dope because the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, is not effective against benzos.

Benzo dope, also known as ‘purple heroin’, is most commonly dark purple, blue and orange, but it has been found to be other colours.

Drug forensic experts in British Columbia found that in October last year one in six (16 percent) of fentanyl deals were cut with benzodiazepines – a type of drug not usually found cut into opioids – compared to five per cent last January and zero before 2019.

The most common benzo identified in benzo dope was etizolam, a super potent benzo that is fuelling record drug death rates in Scotland.

Authorities in Canada were first alerted to benzo dope when health workers noticed a cluster of 30 “atypical” overdoses over two weeks in Vancouver in April 2019, where drug users were not responding to naloxone. A warning about the new drug combo was issued by Vancouver Coastal Health.

The combination of benzos and fentanyl causes prolonged loss of consciousness, profound respiratory depression and amnesia. In January, half of the 165 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia – most of which involved fentanyl – also involved benzos, compared to only 15 percent in July last year. Last year was the deadliest year on record for overdoses in British Columbia, the epicentre of Canada’s drug death crisis.

Source: A Deadly Synthetic Street Drug Called ‘Benzo Dope’ Is on the Rise