WATCH: Delta Police discovered the synthetic opioid W-18 during a drug lab bust and there are fears it could contribute to the overdose crisis in the province. April Lawrence reports.
As they struggle to cope with the devastating impacts of fentanyl on friends, and family, Victoria’s street community was stunned to hear a drug 100 times more powerful has been found in B.C.
“I don’t want these people getting wired to a new drug that’s going to kill them,” said former addict ‘Karma’ at Our Place Society on Pandora.
Today Delta Police warned that they discovered the deadly drug W-18 being manufactured in the region after a drug bust in March.
“This week we’ve received news from the lab that some of the products have tested positive for the drug W-18 which is a synthetic opioid,” said Sergeant Sarah Swallow.
Victoria’s Carl Kain said he learned about W-18 two weeks ago after his 38-year-old friend died from an overdose that he was told was linked to the drug.
“[He] did a very small point and it killed him within minutes,” said Kain.
Victoria Police say they haven’t seen any evidence of W-18 on Vancouver Island, but that doesn’t mean it’s not here.
“Law enforcement is deeply concerned about how it’s spreading, we have not yet seen it here in Victoria, that said, that in no way means it’s not here, we just haven’t verified it’s existence here so far,” said Staff Sergeant Conor King, an expert on drugs and controlled substances.
“W-18 presents a whole new area of danger for us and of course for the drug users.”
King said illicit drug manufacturers are selling W-18 as heroin because it has the same effects on the brain.
“Since they can’t get heroin or heroin is very expensive to import, this stuff can be manufactured locally then basically secretly sold as heroin to the end user,” he said.
Even more troubling, it’s unclear if Nalaxone, which is commonly used to save overdose victims, even works on W-18.
“We don’t know how effective it will be, if’s if effective at all, on someone who overdoses from W18, so the more it comes into the community the more people will die on our streets,” said Grant McKenzie, spokesperson for Our Place Society.
‘Karma’ said she has no doubts where she would be if W-18 had existed when she was using.
“I would have died, I would have died,” she said.
Those visiting Our Place today said we need safe consumption sites before more lives are lost.
Because now that W-18 is in B.C. there is no way for users to know if the deadly and powerful drug is hiding in their next high.