Suspected heroin seized by police in Broome County on July 28, 2016. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]A drug said to be 10,000 times stronger than morphine may be responsible for a series of overdoses in recent days in Broome County.

Authorities are concerned that the drug known as W18 is linked to overdose cases involving at least four people in the Binghamton area over the past week.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Cower of the Broome County Sheriff's Office said three people in the Town of Dickinson were treated for drug overdoses. He said all three survived but two of them wound up hospitalized in the intensive care unit.

Cower said one of those who overdosed indicated they believe they had used heroin containing W18, which is much more potent than fentanyl.

Investigators also are reviewing an overdose death in the Town of Conklin for a possible connection to W18.

Cower is awaiting lab results to determine whether the new drug was a factor in the overdose cases.

If W18 is confirmed, Cower said that would be a "very serious" development as the region continues to deal with opioid use.

Police believe the heroin that may have contained W18 was sold by a street-level dealer. Cower said its origin is not known.

Other Broome County law enforcement officials said they were aware of the new drug but they knew of no local overdoses involving it.

Cower said there was no indication that any of the heroin seized by police in raids last week contained W18. But he noted there's no simple field test available to detect the presence of the drug. He said confirmation of W18 can only be done through laboratory analysis.

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