• STV
  • MySTV

Hull's opioid epidemic that has already claimed 15 lives

Fentanyl is a drug that is 100 times more powerful than heroin.

Volunteers check on a homeless person in Hull.
Volunteers check on a homeless person in Hull. ITV News

Hull is in the grips of a illicit drug epidemic that has already claimed 15 lives this year.

Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than heroin by volume, and as heroin becomes weaker on the street, more and more users are turning to fentanyl to get their high.

Fentanyl has killed 64,000 people over the past 12 months in the US alone, and helped force President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency over opioid abuse.

And it is Hull's most vulnerable who are at the most at risk.

"There's people out there chasing fentanyl now, because when they first started taking heroin 20-25 years ago, that's when it was strong," Mark, a heroin user of more than a decade, told ITV News.

"Now the heroin in Hull, I don't know about the rest of the country, but it's crap.

"They're not getting any buzz from it."

And it is the ease of acquiring fentanyl that worries those trying to help people under the spell of the deadly drug.

"It is fairly easy to get a hold of - we live in the internet age," addiction counselor Andrew Dettman said.

"And the drug dealers, they get a hold of fentanyl and they grind it down and adulterate other drugs with it, and people are dying."

Danny's cousin Paddy died from a fentanyl overdose.
Danny's cousin Paddy died from a fentanyl overdose. ITV News

Danny - a heroin addict who first took fentanyl in March - recently lost his cousin Paddy to a fentanyl overdose, but it has not stopped him from seeking it out.

"I wish it had scared me that much for me to just leave everything alone but I guess, well, it hasn't," he said.

His description of fentanyl's effects give an insight into how strong it actually it.

"I don't remember sliding down, I don't remember hitting the floor," he said.

"I just remember waking up four or five hours later."

Tony Margetts, a substance misuse manager, was one of the first to notice the unusual number of deaths in Hull.

Tony Margetts has charted fetanyl's rise in Hull.
Tony Margetts has charted fetanyl's rise in Hull. ITV News

"Some of these people died so quickly that they hadn't got time to pull the syringes out of their arms.

"It is so potent that it is impossible to use safely on human beings, and you can get enough under your fingernail to kill you.

There are organisations like homeless charity Emmaus trying to help, but they are facing an uphill battle, especially as addicts never know exactly what they are taking.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.