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Synthetic Opioid Abuse (70A/22)


  1. For the calendar years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 to date, the total number of reported incidents referring to synthetic opioid abuse;
  1. For the calendar years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 to date, the total number of reported incidents referring to OxyContin/Oxycodone abuse, illegal dealing, and/or illegal prescriptions;


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit within the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

West Midlands Police do not have a marker for synthetic opioids. We only have a marker for “Drugs”.

The only option available would be to use a keyword search within the free text fields for both incidents reported and then crimes recorded. Each individual record would have to be assessed in order to determine its relevance. Also, the actual analysis of a drug is discovered after the initial incident has been reported ie a crime has been created and the drug has been sent off and analysed. This information is then embedded within the investigation record, which again would need an individual assessment of each “drug” related crime.

Below is a list of opiods from the internet:

Opioids examples
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.

Opioid drugs include:

Fentanyl (Actiq, Abstral, Duragesic, Fentora)
Hydrocodone (Hysingla, Zohydro ER)
Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
Meperidine (Demerol)
Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
Oliceridine (Olynvik)
Oxycodone (Oxaydo, OxyContin)
Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
Oxycodone and naloxone

Again to drill down to the detail of each drug (as listed above) within each recorded crime with a “drug” marker, which would need an individual assessment would exceed the cost limitations for the purposes of FOI.

A keyword search of “synthetic opioid abuse” has been carried out with no results.   This is not surprising as not many members of the public would make a report stating “someone is using / dealing a synthetic opioid”, they would say “someone is currently taking / dealing drugs” .

Keyword searches are notoriously unreliable, the reasons why searches using this method are not reliable include (but are not limited to) the following: –

  1. a) Searches rely on the keywords being spelt correctly with no grammatical errors
  2. b) Searches rely on the keywords actually being mentioned in the summary description of the record – if they are mentioned anywhere else within the record but not in the summary, then they will not feature in any results.

I am unable to suggest any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the Regulations. There are no refinements that I can suggest that would retrieve this information, in accordance with Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act.


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