Over the past 12 hours, almost every Australian news outlet has reported on ‘the world’s deadliest drug entering Australia’. If you’ve been keeping up to date with the tabloid’s regurgitated fluff, one would easily assume the reports are delayed fear chatter about Fentanyl. In an extremely brief, abstract sense, fentanyl is a stronger version of heroin: it’s a ‘synthetic opiate drug’ that reduces pain, is abused recreationally, can turn you into a total zombie and WILL kill you if used excessively.
Though the latest wave of media sails well past the Fentanyl spectacle, instead focusing on W-18, a drug synthesised at the University of Alberta in 1981. Like fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, codeine and every other opioid painkiller with the potential for abuse, W-18 is two things: (1) worth talking and knowing about, and (2) not some super drug that’s appeared from thin air and will blow your limbs off.
To give you a brief history, W-18 is suddenly talk around town because “AUSTRALIAN Border Force officers have made several seizures,” recently, according to The Daily Telegraph. The seizure of the synthetic opiate forced Australian Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg to issue the Telegraph with a warning on its potency, which culminated in a neat little table surmising its chemical properties. According to them, it’s:
- 10,000 times more potent than morphine or heroin.
- 1,000 times more potent than fentanyl.
- Produced in China.
- Untraceable in your bloodstream.
- Known as ‘beans’ or ‘shady 80s’ (probably by people who have bad hips).
Dboy80 [refering to him as anything else is impossible] allegedly tried W-18 when he was unable to acquire his regular supply of oxycontin, a drug he’s been dependent on for over four years. His description of the experience was unlike the description anonymously provided to VICE earlier this year. Dboy80 did in fact vomit after ingesting the drug, though he described the remainder of the trip as “almost identical to using [his regular drug of choice]”, despite the dosage being dramatically reduced. When questioned if he continued using the drug, he quickly assured us he didn’t go into it again. “The vomiting part sucked.”
It’s clear that W-18, which is part of a huge influx of designer drugs currently circulating in Australia, is dangerously potent. It’s also clear that the new drug is enough to kick Australian customs into a new gear and force them to rethink their approach on tackling the international narcotic trade. Speaking with the Telegraph, Quaedvlieg spoke in depth about the shift in tactics, which revolves around targeting fast air parcels, which are allegedly being used more and more by drug smugglers.
“If you put 500kg importation into a seagoing container and is detected it is a major financial loss but if you put 50 x 10kg parcels through the airstream, authorities will not detect all of them.
“Then there is a network here that will recollect all the parcels once they are through, reconsolidate it, then the wholesalers and retailers will do what they do.
“It is sent to a variety of destinations such as parcel lockers, share houses, vacant lots (and) flats, and they get young students, mainly Chinese who may or may not be aware of the contents, and pay them $100 or $200 to collect the parcel, and then someone will pick it up for them.’’
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