Saturday, May 21, 2016

First confirmed fatality linked to W-18

This picture, purported to show a powder sample of W-18, appears on a website based in China that promises to ship it. 'Not for human consumption,' reads the caption.
The first known fatality in Alberta linked to the highly lethal new street drug W-18 has been confirmed. A 35-year-old Calgary man who died from a drug overdose in March had taken W-18 along with heroin, and 3-methyl fentanyl, a highly toxic form of fentanyl, according to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Police say 3-methyl fentanyl (3-MF) is an analog of fentanyl that is 10 to 15 times more toxic than the base version of the street drug. EMS crews were called to a hotel in south Calgary late in the evening on March 7 and declared the man dead at the scene.

W-18 is a legal opioid and is being called the deadliest trend in more than three decades.
Police found drug paraphernalia and a Naloxone kit — a drug that can be injected to temporarily reverse an overdose of fentanyl or other opioids — in the room. The Naloxone kit had not been used. It is not know if Naloxone is effective against W-18. Police say organized crime is behind a recent increase in the amount of fentanyl and its analogs being trafficked, as well as the recent arrival of W-18 on the streets. Because it only takes tiny amounts, profit margins are enormous compared to most other drugs. It is virtually impossible to test for trace amounts of drugs like fentanyl or W18 — which police describe as 'scary and terrifying' because of how fatal even a small dose can be.

Health Canada proposed in February 2016 to list W-18 in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

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