News in brief

Physicians suspect synthetic opioid W-18 is spiking overdoses

Some overdose patients in Philadelphia have not been responding to the usual dose of naloxone.

Anita Gupta, DO, first suspected that the Philadelphia heroin trade could be taking a deadlier turn months ago, when she saw overdose patients who didn’t respond as they should have to the antidote drug naloxone that emergency workers gave them.

“The symptoms were worse than we were used to seeing,” Dr. Gupta told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We were getting patients with symptoms of near-death, and often required multiple doses of the antidote naloxone.”

Now she and other physicians think they may know what’s to blame: a synthetic opioid called W-18 that law enforcement officials say may be circulating in Philadelphia.

W-18 is sometimes mixed into heroin without users’ knowledge. It is so powerful that it can cause death in microscopic doses.

Learn more about W-18 by reading the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy