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Is there reason to be alarmed about fentanyl in party drugs in Berlin?
Currently: Don’t panic!
Last updated: February 15, 2024
Drug checking has found no fentanyl in Berlin so far
Drug Checking Berlin has not found fentanyl so far in any of over 1,000 samples analyzed – nor any other synthetic opioids (such as fentanyl analogs or nitazenes).
Test strips may sometimes produce false positives
Drug Checking Berlin just recently detected no fentanyl in a sample where a test strip had raised suspicions.
Fentanyl test strips, originally developed for urine testing, can unfortunately produce false positives under certain circumstances, such as when testing stimulants without sufficiently diluting them (for crystal meth, MDMA, etc. a dilution of 2 mg/mL is recommended). Therefore, individual reports of test strip indications aren’t a reliable determination that fentanyl is present in party drugs in Berlin. Therefore, individual reports of test strip indications aren’t a reliable determination that fentanyl is present in party drugs in Berlin.
In Berlin, Fentanyl isn’t yet turning up where we’d most expect it
In regions where fentanyl causes widespread problems, it is commonly found among other opioids on the black market. In Germany, the main opioid of concern remains heroin. When heroin samples were systematically screened for fentanyl in drug consumption rooms nationwide last year, 2,700 tests turned up only “isolated positive results” in certain regional clusters. “In Berlin, fentanyl doesn’t seem to be a thing at all so far,” the project lead was quoted in Nov 2023.
Current rumors seem to trace back to events abroad
Of course, it can’t be ruled out that issues mostly prevalent elsewhere might be imported in singular, exceptional cases – or in the future. However, absent concrete evidence, rumors of fentanyl suddenly showing up in Berlin in various party drugs seem rather implausible.
To the best of our knowledge, warnings started widely circulating after a tragic event in Los Angeles, first reported on Jan 19, involving the deaths of two artists who also had connections to Berlin’s scene. According to the L.A. Times, investigators are looking into a possible involvement of fentanyl. However, this event bears no material connection to Berlin.
The situation might change in the future
There are valid concerns that the local heroin supply might dry up in the near future due to the disruption of opium cultivation in Afghanistan. When this happens, a demand for replacements could arise. If this leads to the local availability of fentanyl, potential mix-ups or contaminations would become more likely.
Let’s stay vigilant
Whenever possible, use drug checking – here’s how. Otherwise, here’s how you can reduce your risk of accidentally consuming dangerous amounts of unexpected substances:
- Finely crush any new powders first and mix them up well
- Initially try a smaller dose, e.g. a third of a usual line
- Wait at least 10 minutes to see if the effect is as expected
Drug checking currently notably shows that samples purchased as “mephedrone” or “3-MMC” overwhelmingly test as assorted experimental variants instead.
Dangerous drug overdoses in Berlin’s party and chemsex scenes are currently mostly caused by GBL – see our G harm reduction guide for a list of typical mistakes that may lead to overdose.
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Do you have additional information?
Should you know of specific people who came in contact with fentanyl in Berlin in connection with party drug use, and this was verified e.g. in a hospital, please let us know! (You’re welcome to leave out any identifying details until we’ve switched to a more secure channel.)