An alarming “spike” in super strong synthetic opioid drugs was seen on the streets of Glasgow before Christmas, health bosses have warned.

Nitazene-type opioids, which are stronger than heroin, were linked to 11 deaths in Scotland between July and September last year.

Kelda Gaffney head of adult services, alcohol and drug recovery and mental health, said health officials are concerned about them and are monitoring the situation.

Ms Gaffney said: “Synthetic opioids have not come into Scotland in a big way but we saw a spike before Christmas so we very quickly from a public health perspective pulled together information and advice for people.”

She was responding to a question from Glasgow City Integration Joint board member David Gould asking about the increased presence of synthetic opioids including nitazenes and what is being done to handle the problem.

He asked: “Are we as a city facing a big challenge going forward in terms of synthetic opioids? Are we at the tip of the iceberg?”

Ms Gaffney said an intelligence hub has been developed in partnership with the police to quickly identify any challenge.

She added: “It is definitely an issue we need to keep an eye on. It has not exploded and it seems to have settled down again from pre Christmas. But we will continue to look at that as it is something we would be concerned about. ”

It is feared nitazenes are being made in labs and imported into the UK from China according to a BBC report.

The comments came as the Glasgow City Integration Joint Board were this week presented with a refreshed Glasgow City Alcohol and Drug Partnership Strategy.

Ms Gaffney told the meeting “It is a refresh of the previous strategy.”

She explained how the strategy is aligned to Scottish Government’s national mission to reduce deaths and improve lives impacted by drugs and has been updated to include alcohol which is “very welcome.”

Ms Gaffney said: “We are very committed to addressing stigma and that is highlighted throughout the strategy.”

The aims of the strategy include improving the quality of life for people suffering harm through alcohol and drug use, early intervention to prevent problems and tackling stigma and health inequalities among others.