New drug W18 is '10,000 times more powerful than morphine'

The drug is making its way to the US at a time when fentanyl-related deaths in Canada continue to rise

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 05 May 2016 08:54
Comments

A new drug considered to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine has hit the market in the US after being discovered in Canada.

The synthetic opiate W-18 is a psychoactive substance and opioid similar to heroin, but is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.

It is now making its way to the US at a time when fentanyl-related deaths in Canada continue to rise.

From 2009 to 2014, there were an estimated 655 deaths in Canada linked to fentanyl overdoses, according to Vice News.

While fentanyl is now a controlled substance, W-18 is yet to be prohibited in Canada or the US. It was made illegal in Sweden on 26 January, 2016.

W-18 was first seized in Canada in August 2015, when police in Calgary seized a shipment of 110 pills thought to contain fentanyl, CBC news reported.

A small number of those pills were actually found to contain traces of W-18.

Over the last year, larger quantities of W-18 have been found in other locations across Canada and the US.

In March, a man in Florida was found to have two and a half pounds of W-18 when he was arrested for selling fentanyl pills, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Cheese triggers same part of the brain as drugs

The drug is believed to be created in labs in China and then sold online.

It was originally developed as a painkiller by scientists at the University of Alberta in 1981.

After being deemed too strong, it was never picked up by pharmaceutical companies and was largely forgotten about.

The effect of W-18 on humans is largely unknown, because the drug was only ever tesed on lab mice.

It is currently unclear how addictive it may be, or what potential side-effects it may cause.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in