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W-18 and Fentanyl - Seperating Facts from Fiction

  1. TheBigBadWolf
    On Monday, Tasmanian police put out a warning about a new synthetic drug – ten thousand times stronger than heroin – that could be coming the Apple Isle’s way. Known as W-18, reports state the drug has already been detected on the mainland, and is said to be a synthetic opioid derived from fentanyl.

    Australian Border Force (ABF) officers revealed they’ve made several recent seizures of the drug. Talking to the Daily Telegraph last week, ABF commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said fentanyl “is not the worst of it”, warning that W-18 is.

    The authorities on W-18

    Quaedvlieg said he’d spoken with his US and Canadian counterparts and had received advice to look out for W-18. He added that local research from state and territory police, as well as coronial inquiries, had shown evidence that the drug is now available in Australia.

    W-18 is believed to be one hundred times stronger than fentanyl, giving users a “euphoric pain killing feeling.” Recreational use of the drug emerged two years ago. And W-18 – that’s available in powder or pill form – can’t be detected in the bloodstream.

    What is W-18?

    However, contrary to what’s been reported, W-18 is not a synthetic opioid.

    Dr Stephen Bright is the adjunct research fellow at the National Drug Research Institute. He explained that W-18 is actually one of several analgesic chemicals that were being investigated in the early 80s.

    In 1981, researchers at Alberta University developed a series of 32 compounds, and W-18 was the most potent of these. The aim of the project was to create a non-addictive analgesic that rivalled morphine. “It’s unclear why the research was abandoned,” Bright told Sydney Criminal Lawyers. “But at that time it had only been administered to rats and appeared to show some promise.”

    The implications of W-18 in Australia

    The drug was patented in 1984, but no pharmaceutical companies chose to licence W-18. Since the patent expired, several companies in China are said to manufacture and sell the drug. According to Dr Bright, the reason Australian suppliers are turning to it is that they can make a hefty profit. W-18 is cheap to buy overseas and can be sold on the local market as heroin at a much higher price.

    “Since emerging on the grey market, research has shown that it has no affinity for the opiate receptors,” Bright explained, “so we’re not sure how exactly it is working in the brain.” He warned a danger with W-18 is that if someone overdoses on what’s thought to be heroin, the opioid reversal drug Naloxone won’t work.

    The Canadian scene

    In Canada, the recreational use of W-18 has been detected for some years now. Four kilograms of W-18 was seized in Edmonton in December last year. But Health Canada has been criticised for repeatedly claiming the drug is an opioid, one hundred times stronger than fentanyl, when there’s no evidence that it is.

    Canadian doctors have warned such statements could be dangerous as those who’ve used W-18 may presume they have a strong tolerance to opioids and turn to fentanyl. In response, Health Canada retracted its claims about the chemical makeup and potency of W-18 on June 19 this year.

    A recently released University of North Carolina study entitled the Pharmacology of W-18 and W-15 showed that the chemicals have no effect on human or mouse opioid receptors and no relation to fentanyl.

    David Kroll, writing in Forbes on July 28 this year, concludes that the warnings that W-18 was an opioid one hundred times stronger than fentanyl stems from a series of drug seizures in western Canada last year where W-18 was found in batches of the drug fentanyl.

    Two hundred and seventy Canadian deaths have been attributed to fentanyl. And when the W-18 patent was found to describe the drug as ten thousand times stronger than morphine, this led authorities to claim it was more potent than fentanyl.

    Fentanyl in Australia

    So it may be that the real threat to Australian drugs users is fentanyl, which has been present on the streets for some years now.

    NSW state coroner Michael Barnes said in June this year that a “strong or corrupted” batch of heroin was responsible for a recent spate of thirteen overdoses on the Sydney streets between May 2 and June 3. Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Dr Alex Wodak suggested the batch of heroin that led to the deaths may have been laced with fentanyl.

    The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre found that over recent years, prescription painkillers have led to 70 percent of opioid overdoses, with the remaining 30 percent attributed to heroin.

    Opioid users had previously been taking Oxycontin intravenously. But when a new tamper-proof form of that prescription drug was rolled out in July 2014, they turned to the more dangerous fentanyl, which is about thirty to fifty times more powerful than heroin.

    Drug users extract fentanyl from slow-release patches that are prescribed to people with chronic pain. The problem is the potency of what’s being extracted is unknown.

    The case for drug checking

    So what impact could W-18 have on the Australian streets?

    Dr Bright said, “it’s unclear as Australia has poor monitoring systems.” He believes there is an urgent need for drug checking, which is similar to the harm minimisation approach of pill testing, but with a broader scope as to what can be tested.

    A system of illicit drug checking has been in place in the Netherlands since the 1990s. Known as the Drug Information and Monitoring System (DIMS), more than one hundred thousand samples of illegal drugs had been handed in at facilities by 2011.

    While in July and August this year, Vancouver’s Insite, North America’s only medically supervised injecting facility, carried out a pilot drug checking program. Insite found that of 173 drug checks undertaken, 90 percent of clients’ heroin contained traces of fentanyl. The ongoing trial comes at a time when a spate of opioid overdoses across North America is increasingly being linked to the synthetic drug.

    On drug checking in Australia, Dr Bright explained, “people can test their drugs anonymously, but use the data that is obtained.” He went on to suggest that it could be linked to forensics data, “to get a much better picture of what chemicals are actually in the drugs people are taking.”

    By Paul Gregoire | 13/09/2016 |http://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au
    pic same source.


  1. TheBigBadWolf
    Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

    W18 Drug Is 10,000 Times Stronger Than Morphine: Calgary Police Warning. There’s only been a single seizure of a powerful new drug called W-18 in Calgary, but police say odds are high that much more is available on the streets.

    “I guarantee you, there’s got to be more out there. We just haven’t seen it yet,” Staff Sgt. Jason Walker told CBC News.

    W-18 is a powerful opioid considered up to 100 times stronger than fentanyl, which has been blamed for a spike of deaths in the province. According to Alberta Health, 213 overdose deaths in 2015 involved the deadly drug.

    That's up from 120 fentanyl-related deaths in 2014 and only six deaths reported in 2011.

    Calgary police haven’t revealed in what form W-18 was found and haven’t disclosed how much the drug can fetch on the streets. A spokesperson told HuffPost Canada more information about the seizure will be released next week.

    The discovery of W-18 is significant, considering fentanyl in its current form can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

    Walker warned there’s a possibility criminals will mix W-18 into illegal fentanyl pills.

    There have been no known W-18-related deaths, but police say it’s hard to detect the drug in toxicology tests.

    The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team called fentanyl the “biggest drug trend” of 2015. Last year, approximately 21,000 pills were seized by provincial authorities.

    By Zi-Ann Lum

    Posted: 01/29/2016 1:51 pm EST Updated: 01/29/2016 6:59 pm EST
  2. Name goes here
    There is a fairly lengthy discussion about w18 being overly dramatized over on bl. It may be a partial antagonist so there would be little/no high from a dose. I'm not saying it isn't dangerous because it's fatal in microscopic doses to non tolerant users. I would like to hear from someone who's really tried it. Massive opoid users like myself aren't all that uncommon.
  3. Weltmeister
  4. Calliope
    Currently links to youtube videos error out (something to do with the migration that will be fixed with the migration. Hang tight folks!)

    The youtube Weltmeister linked is uploaded to DF but to see it now you'll need to search the title on youtube (the title being W-18: A Lesson in Patience and Uninformed Journalism)
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