What is W-18?

Designer drugs have become more prevalent over the years with reports of their popularity. These drugs burst onto the scene and have caused a sudden string of overdoses that are transpiring because the ingredients are unknown making their potency obscure as well. Once authorities seem to get a handle on one designer drug, another one hits the streets that is just as dangerous as the next. A designer drug that has made its way around for the last several years is one that is called W-18.

This compound is one out of 32, W-1 to W-32, that were synthesized at the University of Alberta in Canada back in 1980. W-18 was only tested on mice to show that it contained pain-killing medicinal abilities, but never once tested on humans. In the 2010’s, this drug resurfaced as a substitute for other controlled substances and called an opioid. After testing the components of the drug, W-18 was shown to be more potent than that of fentanyl which is 10,000 times stronger than morphine. The drug was never sold through a pharmaceutical company although it was sold over the internet, from other countries oversea, and from Canada where it was concocted.

Since W-18 was considered an opiate initially because of its potency of being a pain-killer, it was added as a filler in batches of heroin and fentanyl. The pills and powders that are filled with W-18 are created in homemade labs so the strength is unclear. Only a tiny of bit of W-18 is needed to create respiratory depression and kill the person that is taking it. The symptoms from exposure to W-18 include sleepiness, difficulty breathing, cold and clammy skin, and becoming unresponsive. Fatality is common due to respiratory arrest or from poisoning.

The drug was considered an opiate at first although it has been since been proven not be an opiate at all. This designer drug was shown to not affect opioid receptors in the brain and Naloxone is unproductive to keep someone from overdosing from the drug. W-18 has yet to be classified as controlled substance in the United States even though it is considered an illegal drug in Canada and Sweden.

W-18 cannot even be detected with blood or urine testing. First, W-18 is hidden in drugs to increase potency and then it hides in the body with the intent to unexpectedly make a person die. Without knowing what this drug is all about makes its effects a silent killer.

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