A new street drug, 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, is making the rounds in Canada and now the United States.
First responders said if a spec of sand were W-18, the synthetic opioid, it’s enough to kill you and they are afraid if the drug spreads, it will exacerbate the current heroin epidemic.
Developed 30 years ago in a university lab in Canada, W-18 was thought to be an alternative pain reliever that would be less addictive.
It was too strong and never picked up by pharmaceuticals, so it was shelved.
A Chinese chemist found it and labs overseas are making the compound that is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which is mixed with heroin.
"Even in Groton we had eight deaths in our town last year. Seventeen people saved by Narcan,” said Joe De La Cruz, of Community Speaks Out.
The numbers continue to climb, and getting the word out to families that there is help for a loved one who is addicted, is critical.
Last weekend alone, the organization Community Speaks Out got five heroin addicts into a treatment center.
Just talking about W-18 scares first responders.
"We're looking at this next drug w-18 that's coming out. This could be disastrous. This could be the next nuclear war basically. You're going to see a lot of lives lost,” said Poquonnock Bridge Fire Dept. Chief Joe Winski.
He said it is critical now for state and federal agencies to work together with health agencies to get addicts treatment.
Lisa Johns lost her son to heroin addiction, and now she is trying to help spread the word about the deadly dangers.
"People are going to start dropping like flies if this gets into the wrong hands and gets out there. It's a terrorist attack,” Johns said.
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