New drug W-18 ‘100 times more powerful than fentanyl’: Calgary police

File: Fentanyl pills seized by RCMP. RCMP Handout

CALGARY – Police say there are very few details known about a deadly new drug discovered in Calgary.

The opioid, called W-18, is thought to be much more toxic than fentanyl, which Alberta Health Services has linked to hundreds of deaths across the province.

“W-18 is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, which we know is 100 times more powerful than morphine,” Sergeant Jason Walker of the Calgary Police Service said.

READ MORE: Fentanyl fact sheet: what it is and what it does

Police have only recorded one instance in which they could confirm the drug was found in Calgary.

Walker said an unknown drug seized by officers had been sent to a lab for tests and when they got the results back, investigators discovered the drug was W-18. Police haven’t released specifics on when or where the drug was found.

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According to police, only certain labs are able to test for the drug.

“We’re just learning what W-18 is,” Walker added. “Medical professionals don’t yet clinically understand what it might do to you.”

Walker said knowing how powerful the drug is, it’s likely there will be deaths associated with it.

The circumstances surrounding the mysterious drug are similar to when fentanyl was first found in Calgary, according to Walker.

“Years ago, we didn’t really know what fentanyl was when we were seizing it,” Walker said. “Fentanyl is what is on our plate today, but tomorrow it could be something different.”

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