How Patent Law Led to a New And Dangerous Calgary Drug

Tags:

Drug offences are unfortunately common in Calgary; though the scientific and medical communities are leaning more and more towards treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal justice problem, law enforcement—and the laws they enforce—have been slow to catch up. That's why we still see arrests and prosecutions for simple drug possession every day in Calgary.

The law also interacts with Calgary drug offences in some unusual and unexpected ways, including in the introduction of a drug dubbed W-18—an opioid-based drug said to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself caused headlines in Calgary over the course of the past year for its extremely high potency and the many deaths it caused among recreational users.

According to a report by the [Calgary Sun], W-18 was first developed by researchers at Edmonton's University of Alberta in 1982 as part of an effort to develop non-addictive yet high-strength painkillers. Over 30 compounds were patented as a part of this research, including the compound dubbed W-18, yet none of them proved successful in ending pain without creating a risk for addiction and the research was eventually abandoned.

Part of the patent process includes publishing the details of the inventions or compounds being patented, though—an important part of the patent process that allows for public review and keeps everyone informed of the state of technology and other developments while also helping to protect patent holders' rights. In this case, it also allowed a Chinese manufacturer (again, according to the Sun) to start producing W-18 as soon as the patent expired, flooding the market with a highly potent drug that is potentially more dangerous than anything Calgary has had to deal with.

Drug laws need changing so they more effectively address the public health and safety issues related to drugs like W-18 rather than simply criminalizing those who use drugs on a recreational basis. At the same time, the people of Calgary should recognize that many substances are truly dangerous, and that their use and availability is restricted for very good reason. In the case of W-18, the high potency of the drug and the potential for adverse side effects made it more dangerous than other available painkillers, and it was never put into production for medical use in Canada due in part to safety concerns.

That should give anyone tempted to use W-18 recreationally some serious second thoughts. Whether or not you agree with laws that criminalize drug use, the risk to your health and even your life is a good reason to trust the research on this one.

Contacting a Defence Lawyer for Your Calgary Drug Charges

If you or a family member has been charged with a drug offence in or around the Greater Calgary Area and you would like a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate Calgary defence lawyer, please [contact the office of Susan Karpa today] and get the help that you deserve.

< Return to Blog