Government of Canada announces tighter controls on opioid W-18

OTTAWA, June 1, 2016 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada announced today it has published final amendments that add the synthetic opioid W-18 to Schedule I to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), and to the Restricted Drugs section of the Food and Drug Regulations, rendering unauthorized activities such as production, possession, importation or exportation and trafficking illegal.

Evidence shows that W-18 has been used recreationally in Europe and Canada over the past two years. It has been found in samples seized by Canadian law enforcement that were made to appear like legitimate prescription tablets, such as oxycodone.

The addition of W-18 to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act will help law enforcement across Canada keep this dangerous substance off of Canadian streets, and out of the hands of vulnerable individuals.

Quick Facts

  • W-18 is extremely dangerous and can be 100 times stronger than Fentanyl.
  • W-18 was developed in the 1980's as a potential pain reliever, but it was never marketed commercially and has no legitimate use.
  • Synthetic, street-level opioids are extremely dangerous since they are often mixed with or disguised as other drugs prone to abuse, such as oxycodone or heroin, and are highly addictive. When abused, they can cause serious injury and death.
  • The health portfolio has invested over $44 million over five years to address prescription drug abuse, including increased public awareness, enhancing addictions prevention and treatment services in First Nation communities, and improving data, surveillance and reporting on prescription drug abuse in Canada.

"Substances like W-18 are dangerous and have a significant negative impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I am pleased with the swift action that Health Canada has taken to regulate this substance."
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Associated Links

Canada Gazette Part II - Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:


SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709

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