Cranbrook RCMP have issued a press release saying that the drug W18 has been detected in Cranbrook.
“W18 is a new drug found to be a hundred times more powerful than fentany,” said Cst. K. Forgeron in the release. “W18 has been detected in Cranbrook. The public should be advised that medical studies shows the Naloxone Antidote will have minimal to no effect on W18.”
Dean Nicholson from the East Kootenay Addictions Society says that he doesn’t have a lot of information on W18.
“It appears that the biological action of W18 is not well known, but that it may not bind to opioid receptor sites in the brain the way other opioids do,” he said. “This suggests that Naloxone may not be effective in reversing an overdose, and there is no indication of any other approach at present to reverse a W18 overdose. Nonetheless, the articles note that W18 is likely to be mixed with other opioids, like Fentanyl or Morphine, so that Naloxone should still be administered, while waiting for medical help.”
Sgt. Chris Newel, Kimberley RCMP Detachment commander says that all Kimberley members have now received Naloxone training as well.
“Our members have been trained for a quite a while and all have been issued Naloxone kits which they carry on their persons.
“We are running into Fentanyl in Kimberley on occasion,” Newel said. “Fortunately, we haven’t had to administer any Naloxone.”
Newel says he has been speaking to high school students about the dangers of Fentanyl.
“I’m not sure people really understand the fatal consequences and that when you buy it on the street, it is completely unregulated,” he said.
Newel says he attended a Fentanyl presentation in March.
“Fentanyl is obtained very cheaply and in its pure source is fatal. These people use it to up the potency and addictive qualities of drugs. But these people are not pharmacists. They don’t know how much is getting into the drugs. So one dose might have almost nothing and another might have 40 per cent Fentanyl.”
Newel says that while this area doesn’t have the population density of places like Vancouver, where Fentanyl is a huge problem, it is here and people need to be aware that it is.