W-18 is a powerful synthetic drug that has just started to hit the streets in the United States and Canada. This is very scary stuff.

Although it was first synthesized around 35 years ago, it is a relative newcomer on the illegal drug market. There are no hard statistics available yet on drug abuse cases related to W-18.

Lawmakers around the world are rushing to officially declare it illegal. As of right now, it is technically legal in the United States.

So far, arrests involving W-18 are few and far between, and they have not been specifically for that drug. Rather, the fentanyl trade on the black market has been the root cause of any arrest involving W-18, and this new drug was just found in a raid along with fentanyl.

For example: in late 2015, federal agents uncovered almost three pounds of W-18 in the home of a Florida man who was a suspected member of an international fentanyl drug ring. Canadian drug enforcement officials discovered a much larger cache of W-18 (almost nine pounds) during a fentanyl raid in Calgary last December.

W-18: Fear of The Unknown

Mice are the only mammals on which any W-18 testing has been done, so the specific effects on humans are not well known. The only solid pieces information right now are:

  • In its purest form, W-18 is approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 1,000 times more potent than fentanyl.
  • Much of the W-18 on the streets is coming through the China pipeline, where people can buy the drug online, just as they have been doing for years with many other synthetic drugs, such as bath salts,molly, and spice.
  • W-18 causes slightly different symptoms than other narcotics during drug overdoses, and patients don’t respond as readily to the antidote Naloxone, which is often administered after a drug overdose has occurred.
  • No one really knows what is in the W-18 that is being produced by illegal drug labs.

With so little available information, the number of people who need help specifically from W-18 addiction is impossible to know. In fact, it’s not even known for certain that W-18 is addictive, although it would be exceedingly rare–perhaps unprecedented–to discover a powerful drug that did not cause chemical dependency to some degree.

The problem is that the W-18 hitting the streets today has not been tested to any significant extent. There is no good information on what it is made of, or what it will do to those who use it. There is essentially no data on how W-18 is absorbed, distributed, and metabolized within the human body.

Like so many other synthetic drugs made by criminal organizations, there is no consistency from dose to dose. There’s also no telling where it might end up; W-18 can easily be added to heroin, for instance, without the user’s knowledge.

Additionally, many hospitals and law-enforcement agencies are ill-equipped to tell a W-18 case from fentanyl abuse case.

Both Pennsylvania and Illinois have confirmed some fatal overdoses of W-18 in their respective states. However, many other states are almost certainly misreporting W-18 overdoses as either fentanyl-related or heroin-related. They simply don’t know enough about W-18 abuse to spot it when they see it.

Adding Fuel to a Raging Fire

Narcotic abuse–particularly heroin abuse–has been spiking significantly in recent years. Many officials fighting the rise in heroin addiction and other related drug abuse problems believed that the situation had already reached epidemic proportions.

Medical professionals and drug treatment centers everywhere have been reporting a steady increase in the treatment of heroin addiction over the past decade or so. Even opioid users on Internet message boards are trashing W-18. Some are claiming that the effects are not particularly pleasurable in comparison with other substances, and one commenter asserted that there was a razor-thin line “between high and death”.

Bottom line: any person would be smart to stay as far away from this stuff as possible. Of course, if W-18 being mixed in with heroin, morphine, and fentanyl, how would drug abusers know if they are taking it? The best thing anyone can do for themselves is to get sober; that takes all the guesswork out of the equation, and sobriety leads to much healthier and happier lives.

Help for Addiction is Available

At Cornerstone Recovery Center, we understand all types of drug addiction. If you or a loved one has an uncontrollable addiction to any of these drugs, help is a phone call away. Dial 888-711-0354 to talk to a specialist, or contact us online as soon as possible.