I try not to use Burners.me as a megaphone, but as I read about this substance & how it was being covered in the media, I needed to make an exception. To be clear, we have no evidence of this substance being found or consumed at Burning Man, but I believe it will become a problem in the painkiller consuming community on the West Coast over the next 18 months. W-18 is a novel analgesic that was patented as the 18th in a 32 compound series by a trio of Canadian researchers in 1984. First flagged by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction in 2014,W-18 started turning up in prescription oxycodone pills seized by Canadian law enforcement in early 2015. It’s been banned by China, but the reasons why are unclear. The news stories on it started to pile up in April, so started digging. I found two scoops of sloppy reporting and a shocking lack of real information.
For the past couple of weeks, a dear friend of mine has gotten alert after alert from high school friends. The pace of overdose deaths in the town she grew up in has quickened considerably. When four people from your high school class don’t make it to the first day of Spring, it’s a problem you can’t ignore anymore. I wish that her experience was isolated, but it is occurring all over the country. Richmond had almost 30 heroin ODs in a week. This will be related to Burning Man later in the post, but I couldn’t ignore this any longer. We as party people, Burners and Americans, are dying, very slowly, and it doesn’t have to be this way. The stuff may flood in from Mexico, but blaming it solely on the gangs & dealers alone would miss the true, complex problem America is facing when it comes to opiate use. Continue reading →