After the first overdose death from W-18 in our province, officials are renewing their warnings about the highly dangerous drug.
The medical director from the Alberta Poison and Drug Information Service, Dr. Mark Yarema says W-18 is more than 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which can kill a person in a dose the size of two grains of salt.
“It is within the class of drugs known as opioids like morphine, and fentanyl, and heroin, and other drugs that we use commonly within medicine,” he said. “However W-18, and in fact all the W series of opioids W1 up to W-32, have no use in medicine, they’re primarily research chemicals.”
In April a massive seizure of W-18 was performed by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team. Normally, at media briefings, the drugs seized are put on display for the media. That day reporters were told their lives would be at risk if the W-18 was in the room.
The big danger, according to officials, is there are no laws in place around W-18, meaning it’s not illegal to possess or distribute. Since street drugs are not regulated, W-18 could be found in any illegal drug.
“You have absolutely no ideas what it is you’re getting,” Dr. Yarema said. “Often the dealers don’t even know what it is they’re dealing as well so they may think that it’s just heroin or fentanyl but they often have no idea as well. It’s just really important for people to be careful.”
On Friday the Calgary Medical Examiner says a 35-year-old man overdosed with W-18 and other drugs in his system. Heroin and an unused Naloxone kit were also found in the hotel room he died in. (kb/newstalk770)