The new synthetic drug W-18 is said to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than Fentanyl — and it still unscheduled in the United States.
W-18 was developed in Canada in the 1980s as a less-addictive alternative to morphine. It was never tested in humans, likely due to its potency.
A few years ago, Chinese chemists discovered the long-forgotten drug and began mass-producing it.
Drug abusers cut W-18 with heroin or cocaine to produce a better high. However, its potency makes it extremely dangerous.
Touching a pill or breathing in just a few grains can cause a deadly overdose. Authorities must wear hazmat suits to handle W-18 because it is so dangerous.
The drug first surfaced in Canada last fall when police in Calgary seized pills containing traces of the drug. In March, a man in Florida was found with 2.5 pounds of W-18, but faced no charges because it is not yet illegal.
The really scary part is that overdoses may not be reversed with a medication called naloxone, which is usually the antidote for opiate overdoses. There are currently no tests to detect W-18 in the blood or urine, which makes it difficult for doctors to help someone who might be overdosing.
Source: Washington Post