|W-18, a drug 100 times more potent than fentanyl, has turned up in B.C. for the first time.|
W-18 was first synthesized by a trio of chemists at the University of Alberta in the early 1980s. Its formula was forgotten until its patent expired. Police believe labs in China are producing it again. W-18’s extremely high potency makes it far more profitable by weight than heroin, and it's easier to produce, conceal and ship. Manufacturers and distributors freely exchange the drug over the Internet.
|W-18 and fentanyl are both used to manufacture counterfeit pills. Poor mixing of ingredients can create concentrated 'hot spots' in them, which cause deadly overdoses|
W-18 first re-emerged in Calgary, where it was detected by police last summer. Last week a “public health emergency” was declared in B.C. in response to the significant increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths. The declaration, typically reserved for a contagious disease outbreak, is the first in Canada. Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall cited more than 200 overdose deaths in B.C. during the first three months of 2016, a pace that would lead to 800 deaths this year if it continues.