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Heroin overdoses could get more common as W-18 makes its way to Connecticut

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HARTFORD--Heroin in Connecticut could soon get more potent and even more dangerous.

An additive called W-18 is reportedly popping up in parts of New England. W-18 looks like heroin or fentanyl, it's a white powder, but it's 100 times more potent than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is an opioid that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.

It is similar to drugs used to tranquilize large animals like bears and elephants.

Police warnings are going out in Maine after two fatal W-18 overdoses recently happened in Massachusetts.

If that's the case, addiction experts here say it's just a matter of time until heroin mixed with W-18 shows up in Connecticut, if it already hasn't.

The additive fentanyl is blamed for a spike in state opioid overdoses recently, and W-18 is exponentially stronger than fentanyl.

"It's very frightening that now there is an additive that's 100 times more potent than fentanyl," Dr. Craig Allen of the Rushford Center in Middletown said. "Fentanyl was on the scene last year and led to a big increase in the overdose deaths, so it's very frightening."

The State Police Statewide Narcotics Task Force says it's aware of W-18, but the agency has not seen it here yet. However, State Police admit toxicology tests on recent deadly overdoses could, over the coming weeks, prove that W-18 is in fact already in Connecticut.

The drug is currently unregulated by the DEA, despite its dangerously high potency and recent appearances in heroin circulating the Northeast.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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