There has been a recent surge in a new variety of opiates in the Canada area that are responsible for an escalating amount of deaths in its users. A drug known as W-18 has a similar function as most conventional painkillers, but it’s heightened potency notes an increased risk of overdosing. This substance has become an alarming issue that is spreading throughout Canada, and may soon make its way into other countries.
What is W-18?
W-18 is a synthesized opiate-based medication, maintaining a similar chemical structure to that of fentanyl. While it maintains a pain-killing function, it has a substantially higher level of dosage. According to reports, W-18 is said to be over 100 times stronger than conventional fentanyl, and 1,000 more potent than standard morphine doses. W-18 was initially intended to be a long-term, as its structure lends for it to be metabolized over a longer period of time. However, if the pill is crushed and snorted, the total dosage is administered immediately, presenting a significantly higher dose than normal opiate medications.
The Aftermath of W-18
Because of this substantially greater potency, the risk of overdosing becomes more and more prominent. Within the Alberta area in Canada, there has been a significant increase in reported overdoses linked to W-18 use. Toxicology reports form Alberta health state that W-18 is directly involved in the occurrence of over 200 deaths, which is nearly twice as much rates of fentanyl overdose the previous year ( which was estimated to be 120 cases). In light of these escalating rates of death connected to the abuse of this drug, Health Canada has recently proposed that W-18 be restricted as a Schedule I substance, which would severely limit its legal accessibility to the general public. However, there have also been several mass seizures of this drug in order to remove a large portion of it from the reach of the public. According to reports from Alberta Health, nearly 21,000 W-18 pills were seized by authorities. Yet, there are new recreational varieties of the drug being synthesized and imported that may take on a different appearance, but have a similar result. It would be unlikely to expect that this substance will fade from the eyes of the addicted demographic.
Future Considerations With W-18
These cases of W-18 only note the increased need abstain from using psychoactive substances, even if they are considered to be designed to act as a medicine. While medications like W-18 and other opiates may have pain-relieving properties, the risks of one’s health may be compromised due to the euphoric lure it holds. If you or someone you know uses medications without prescription or outside of prescribed amounts, it is imperative to receive treatment for this occurrence. Oftentimes, many overdoses can occur on the first use, particularly with prescription medications like W-18. In cases like these, there are not many chances for one to see the true consequences of his/her substance use until it is too late. And given the greater potency and more addictive tendencies in newer varieties of drugs like W-18, the risk is only becoming greater.