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What You Need To Know About Lethal Drug W-18

W-18, a drug referred to by the media as “a Frankenstein,” is making headlines because Health Canada has confirmed a number of Fentanyl overdoses in connection with it. Scientists state it’s more potent and lethal than Heroin or Fentanyl.[1] Originally, it was created to relieve pain several years ago and forgotten. W-18 has shifted back to Canada and has Canadian law enforcement officials concerned for the health and safety of people who are unknowingly ingesting drugs purchased on the streets that could potentially contain W-18.

Although Alberta is the main province that has seen W-18 in traditional street drugs, this opioid can quickly reach other Canadian provinces because of the current lack of regulation for it. It’s important that information about this drug be shared so that that people are made aware of the risks from using it. The following are some quick facts about W-18:

  1. 1. It’s extremely potent: It’s described as “One of the most dangerous drugs on the whole spectrum of synthetics or analog”[2] It is “10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times more potent than Fentanyl.” [3]
  2. 2. The Likelihood of overdosing from W-18 is very high: Anyone that comes into contact could overdose immediately and needs medical attention right away.
  3. 3. It’s being mixed with other drugs: Even if you’re not looking to use W-18 you might unknowingly ingest it. People are cutting it up and mixing it with other drugs such as Fentanyl. Others may also sell it as Heroin or OxyContin.[4]
  4. 4. It’s very accessible: W-18 isn’t regulated in Canada yet. Technically, anyone can purchase it online or have it delivered to them in the mail. Health Canada states it is expediting the process of getting W-18 in the federal Controlled Drug and Substance Act.[5]
  5. 5. First line responders are preparing themselves for the worst: Emergency room doctors across Alberta are anticipating a rise in overdoses from W-18.[6]
  6. 6. Many Canadian scientists and healthcare professionals believe Naloxone may help with overdoses from this lethal opioid but it’s not a concrete solution to the problem.[7]

The Edgewood Health Network does not encourage recreational drug use at all. We want everyone to be aware of what W-18 is and the high risk of overdosing if you ingest it. If you know someone who is using drugs such as Heroin, OxyContin or Fentanyl, please find help.

Recreational drug use is usually a sign of something more serious than presumed. When you seek help for ingesting W-18 or any opioid, please ensure you are under the supervision of a doctor.

We are always available to discuss drug addiction and treatment in Canada 1-800-683-0111.


[1] Warrnica Marion. Canadian Police Fight a Frakenstein in New W-18 Street Drug. CBC News. (April 24, 2016) Retrieved From

[2] Warrnica Marion. Canadian Police Fight a Frakenstein in New W-18 Street Drug. CBC News. (April 24, 2016) Retrieved From:

[3] Dangerous Drug W-18, More Powerful Than Fentanyl, Originally Invented in Alberta. CTV News. Published on April 21, 2016. Retrieved from:

[4] Warrnica Marion. Canadian Police Fight a Frakenstein in New W-18 Street Drug. CBC News. (April 24, 2016) Retrieved From

[5]Consultation- Proposal Regarding the Scheduliing of W-18 Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and it’s Regulations: Health Canada. Published on February 13, 2016. Retrieved From:

[6] Balca Dario. Alberta Police Warn of W-18, A Drug Far More Powerful Than Fentanyl. CTV News. Published April 20, 2016. Retrieved on:

[7] NewlyDeadly Peril Looms For Drug Users; Bracing For Trouble. The Province. Published March 4, 2016.