Heroin Australia
Four Hong Kong men, in a separate operation, were charged after one of the world's biggest drugs busts uncovered HK$2 billion (US$258 million) worth of heroin in Australia October 14, 1998. Reuters/Bobby Yip

A spate of heroin-related deaths in recent weeks has prompted the South Australian government to issue a health warning and health services have been put on high alert. As per Substance Abuse Minister Leese Vlahos, 10 deaths have been reported, of which eight have been caused due to heroin use and the rest two from the highly-potent synthetic painkiller fentanyl.

Some of those dead were in the age group of 31-56 years. On average there are between one and two heroin overdose deaths in South Australia. Vlahos said that these tragic deaths must be taken as a serious waring that drug use can be fatal.

Chris Holmwood, an addiction medicine specialist, said that Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia was not aware of any overall increase in the number of people using heroin or other opioids. However, he did add that there are significant dangers associated with illicit drug use and that drug use has devastating effects on individuals, their families and the wider community in general.

On Aug. 31, Wednesday, the International Overdose Awareness Day will be held, writes News.com.au.

Toxicologists have begun investigating the spike in heroin-related deaths in South Australia. Emergency services such as ambulance officers, police and healthcare staff have also been alerted. Vlahos has urged who wanted support to overcome their addiction to contact health services like Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA).

“There has been a spate of heroin-related deaths and the State Government has issued a public warning following the tragic drug overdose deaths. It would seem there is a batch that's particularly strong that's out here,” Vlahos told the ABC.

She added that she had no information on “where these illicit drugs are made, or mixed with, or [what] they contain.” She warned that even the smallest amount may lead to death.