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Powerful new opioids, overdose deaths worry EU drug agency

The European Union's drug agency says potent new synthetic opioids that mimic the effects of heroin and morphine are a growing health threat in the bloc.

In its annual European Drug Report published Tuesday, the Lisbon-based agency also expressed concern about a rise in drug overdose deaths in 2016 for the third consecutive year.

The agency says young people are exposed to increasing numbers of new and dangerous drugs. They include powerful synthetic opioids that are now also available as liquids and nasal sprays.

On average, the agency identified more than one new psychoactive substance coming onto the EU black market each week in 2016.

The agency says that at the end of last year it was monitoring more than 620 new psychoactive drugs that had appeared in recent years.