A powerful new drug that’s said to be 100 times stronger than fentanyl is on the radar of Saskatoon police after it was seized during a recent drug bust in Calgary.
“In Saskatoon I can tell you that we haven’t seen any of it yet, but we’re not naive enough to believe that it isn’t here or that it’s on its way here,” Det. Insp. Robin Wintermute with the Saskatoon Police Service told CKOM News.
The opioid—a synthetic drug made to mimic opiates like morphine—is called W-18. Wintermute said they are working with Alberta police to get as much information about the drug as possible.
He believes the drug looks similar to street fentanyl, or “fake OxyContin,” which are small, greenish-blue pills. According to news reports in Alberta, Calgary police said criminals might be mixing W-18 into the illegal fentanyl pills.
Wintermute said police aren’t aware how much the drug costs or where it’s being made. But he’s not surprised that people have found a way to create an opioid 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
“It is alarming that they’re doing this kind of thing but it’s just another illegal product and unfortunately, people will experiment.”
At this time last year, overdoses from fake pills resembling Oxycontin — but made with varying amounts of powdered fentanyl — were ramping up across Canada. Five people in Saskatchewan died from fentanyl-related overdoses in 2015 as of September, according to statistics from the Office of the Chief Coroner.