Drug Alert | A white powder sold in Melbourne as cocaine contains a potentially life-threatening substance protonitazene

A white powder sold as cocaine contains a potentially life-threatening substance, protonitazene, which is 100 times more potent than heroin.

Protonitazene is an extremely potent novel synthetic opioid (NSO) that can produce dangerous sedative effects such as loss of consciousness and breathing difficulties. Respiratory depression often appears more quickly with NSOs, increasing the risk of life-threatening overdose.

Cocaine and protonitazene are very different substances. Cocaine produces stimulant effects, whereas protonitazene produces sedative effects and may lead to opioid overdose. Using protonitazene with depressants such as alcohol, GHB or depressant drugs (such as Xanax or Valium) increases the risk of overdose.

Know the signs of opioid overdose and carry naloxone.

If you experience adverse drug effects, or are present when someone has an adverse reaction, seek help immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).