Even though the street level use of the potent W-18 drug is still in its infancy in Canada, Delta police are again warning drug users after a recent bust tested positive for the potentially lethal substance.
On March 17, an investigation was launched by the Delta Police drug unit and three different locations in Burnaby, Surrey and Richmond were searched. As a result of those searches, police arrested five people and uncovered what they believed to be a fentanyl processing lab.
The seized drugs, according to police, tested positive for W-18, which is a synthetic opioid originally developed as a pain reliever. It is 100 times more toxic and powerful than fentanyl.
Police investigators believe the W-18 was being manufactured to appear like heroin or oxycodone before being sold at the street level.
“… it appears users are completely unaware of its presence in the drugs they are consuming.,” Delta Chief Cst. Neil Dubord said in a statement.
“It is very apparent to us that drug traffickers are aware of the deadly game they are playing with human lives in the manufacture and sale of these counterfeit drugs.”
These potentially counterfeit drugs can result in a much higher and deadly risk of overdose for users who are unaware that W-18 and/or fentanyl is in the drug they are consuming.
On June 1, the Government of Canada banned W-18, which means the production, possession, importation, exportation or trafficking of it is illegal.
Although it is advisable not to use drugs, for people who choose to use, Delta Police is offering the following information:
- fentanyl and W-18 cannot be detected by looks, smell or taste and are being misrepresented and sold by drug dealers as other drugs;
- do not use alone and start with a small amount;
- do not mix with other substances as it can increase the risk of overdose.
Thirty-five-year-old Scott Pipping from Surrey and 27-year-old Adam Summers from Delta were arrested in the investigation and are currently in custody facing more than 20 charges. Three other people were also arrested in connection with the drug bust for various offences including trafficking in a controlled substance.