Health authorities have issued a warning after three overdoses – including one fatal – were linked to the presence of opioids in black market vape juice.
NSW Health issued a warning on Monday for the juice used in refillable e-cigarettes.
It said the e-cigarette juice linked to the overdoses contained “powerful” synthetic opioids called Nitazene, which can be stronger and last longer than fentanyl.
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Nitazenes can also affect a person’s breathing more than other opioids.
In one of the overdose cases, the person thought the e-cigarette juice he was using contained a synthetic cannabinoid, but instead it contained a nitazene.
An overdose can be caused by consuming even a small amount of the opioid, with six to eight puffs of an e-cigarette containing enough nitazen to cause an overdose.
The department has urged e-cigarette users to keep in mind that the juice they inhale could contain dangerous opioids and other drugs and that consumers may be “being sold something other than what they think they are buying.”
NSW Health regularly tests e-cigarettes in its laboratories.
E-cigarettes, which do not contain nicotine, are legal in NSW and can be purchased and used by adults.
As of October 2021, e-cigarettes and e-liquids containing nicotine are prescription drugs in Australia.
They can be purchased at the pharmacy by people over 18 years of age with a valid prescription.
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes containing nicotine.