BC addictions specialist warns against ‘mass hysteria’ but admits W-18 ‘very scary’

published on June 8, 2016 by Yvette Brend in CBC News

A BC addictions expert is warning people not to become hysterical about W-18, but is urging drug users to protect themselves by taking tinytest doses of any opioidthey buy illegally.

W-18is a synthetic opioid painkiller developed in Alberta decades ago and abandoned, but now it’s showing up again, and health officials are warning it’s 100 times more powerful than Fentanyl, which has already become a health emergency.

Police in Delta yesterday warned people to be extra vigilant after they confiscated drugs containing W-18 after searching labs in Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey.

A few tiny salt-like grains of fentanyl are enough to get a person high. W-18 is even more potent.

“It’s a very scary situation. We certainly don’t know a lot about it quite yet… there is the potential for it to have devastating consequences,”said Seonaid Nolan, an addictions specialist and research scientist with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDs.

“But you want to avoid mass hysteria or over-sensationalizing, but [drug users need to recognize]what you may be ingesting you never quite know,” said Nolan.

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