A deadly heroin additive has found its way into Will County.

The additive, W-18, was found in a 32-year-old Lockport man who died of a heroin overdose in April, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune.

Will County Coroner Patrick K. O’Neil told the paper that most toxicological testing laboratories are unable to detect W-18, which leaves its impact in overdoses unknown. However, the Will County lab is able to.
“W-18 is not as prevalent, but law enforcement officials say it is more potent and even more deadly than fentanyl,” the report said.

DuPage County Coroner Richard A. Jorgensen told the Tribune that his office has not yet seen W-18 in the area, but said there has been a lot of “designer fentanyls.”

“In 2015, we had eight deaths (due to) pure fentanyl, and this year we probably are already at 17 or 18 deaths,” Jorgensen told the Tribune. “So we’ve at least doubled (that) death rate.”

O’Neil and Jorgensen told the Tribune they are not familiar enough with W-18 to offer professional opinions.
W-18 was developed in 1984 by Canadian researchers, but was never mass-produced and was, for the most part, forgotten.


Everything We Know So Far About W-18, the Drug That’s 10,000 Times More Powerful Than Morphine

Allison Tierney

By Allison Tierney

Staff Writer

February 2, 2016