Materials seized by police have tested positive for a drug called W-18, a drug that may be more dangerous than fentanyl. Delta Police busted what was believed to be a clandestine drug lab and seized drugs and equipment from Burnaby, Surrey and Richmond. The materials have tested positive for the synthetic opioid, which can be up to 100 times more toxic than Fentanyl. Use of this toxic drug, even in very small amounts, could result in a fatal overdose.
Drug users aren’t aware they are buying or taking W-18. Drug investigators believe that the W-18 was being manufactured to appear like heroin or oxycodone before being sold at the street level. For users, this could result in a higher and deadly risk of overdose. Because the counterfeit heroin and oxycodone are manufactured in clandestine labs, there is no guarantee that drugs likeW-18 or fentanyl are evenly distributed or mixed throughout the cutting agent.
On June 1, 2016 the Government of Canada announced it had added W-18 to Schedule 1 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, making production, possession, importation, exportation or trafficking of W-18 illegal.
Follow these tips to reduce the chance of experiencing an overdose:
- Don’t use alone
- Start with a small amount
- Mixing substances, including alcohol, increases risk of overdose
- Call 911 right away if someone overdoses [e.g. has difficulty breathing or loses consciousness]
- Make a plan/know how to respond in case of an overdose.
- Use where help is easily available (e.g. Insite, around other people)
- Be prepared to give breaths and/ or administer naloxone (Narcan) until help arrives
- Overdose response training and naloxone kits are available here
Learn about naloxone and how it can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Toward the Heart
Insite, which provides supervised drug injection services in the Downtown Eastside, has managed overdoses related to opioids, VCH staff there have been able to reverse the effects resulting in zero deaths in the facility.
Access services available to you.
Central detox referral line
For more tips and info visit the Know Your Source website.