Just last week, a new drug stronger than fentanyl was discovered, called W-18. It is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine. The warnings are surfacing as a result of a spike in fentanyl-related deaths – there were 213 deaths in Alberta in 2015.

More Facts About W-18

W-18 comes from a series of opioid compounds that were first discovered in 1982 at the University of Alberta. There are actually 32 compounds of the W-series, ranging from W-1 to W-32. It just so happens that W-18 is the most toxic.

Where does it come from?

Similar to fentanyl, W-18 is produced in China. And as it is not regulated under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, it can be manufactured and bought freely.

“There is no way to really reduce the supply side because it’s being produced in a foreign country,” said Martin Schiavetta, staff sergeant with the Calgary Police Service Drug Unit.

Currently, naloxone is provided to victims who are overdosing on fentanyl as a means of treatment and to prevent death. There is no research that shows if naloxone treats a W-18 overdose.


BC Centre for Disease Control

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