‘You’re Going To Have Deaths’: Opioid 10,000 Times More Potent Than Morphine May Be Next Big Threat
The powerful synthetic drug W-18 is slowly seeping into North America, and there are currently no tests to detect it in a person's system, making it difficult for doctors to help someone who is overdosing. Meanwhile, in California, the 14th fentanyl-related death is confirmed in a recent outbreak of overdoses, and in New England, there's a growing movement to treat painkiller addiction with marijuana.
The Washington Post:
This New Street Drug Is 10,000 Times More Toxic Than Morphine, And Now It’s Showing Up In Canada And The U.S.
It was first developed in a Canadian lab more than three decades ago, promising and potent — and intended to relieve pain in a less addictive way. Labeled W-18, the synthetic opioid was the most powerful in a series of about 30 compounds concocted at the University of Alberta and patented in the U.S. and Canada in 1984. But no pharmaceutical company would pick it up, so on a shelf the recipe sat, the research chronicled in medical journals but never put to use. The compound was largely forgotten. Then a Chinese chemist found it, and in labs halfway around the world started developing the drug for consumers in search of a cheap and legal high — one experts say is 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 stronger than morphine. (Mettler, 4/27)
The Associated Press:
14 People Fatally Overdose On 'Painkiller' In California
Fourteen people in the Sacramento, California, area have fatally overdosed on a pill disguised as a popular painkiller, and now the drug has turned up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bay Area hospitals have treated seven patients who ingested what they thought was the painkiller Norco in recent weeks, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The patients all survived, though at least some experienced nausea, vomiting and difficulty breathing. (4/26)
The Associated Press:
Could Marijuana Help Treat Painkiller And Heroin Addiction?
The growing number of patients who claim marijuana helped them drop their painkiller habit has intrigued lawmakers and emboldened advocates, who are pushing for cannabis as a treatment for the abuse of opioids and illegal narcotics like heroin, as well as an alternative to painkillers. It’s a tempting sell in New England, hard hit by the painkiller and heroin crisis, with a problem: There is very little research showing marijuana works as a treatment for the addiction. (Casey, 4/26)