Attorney General Kwame Raoul is urging Congressional leadership in Washington D.C. to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act (H.R. 1839/S. 993).
Raoul says there is a nationwide surge in overdoses related to xylazine, a veterinary medicine that has been frequently mixed with opioids like fentanyl and is easily obtainable online.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued public alerts about the dangers of xylazine over the past few months.
Recently, the White House declared fentanyl-adulterated or -associated xylazine (FAAX) an "emerging threat" to the country.
Across the country, rising rates of xylazine use are leading to increased hospitalizations, overdoses, and deaths,” Raoul said. “This dangerous drug is often mixed with fentanyl, making its use even more deadly. Congress must pass the vitally important Combating Illicit Xylazine Act to support communities that are continuing to deal with the opioid crisis.”
Xylazine is approved only as a veterinary medicine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is not for human use. Xylazine is used to sedate and relieve pain in large animals.
In humans, xylazine is known to depress breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and cause unconsciousness, tissue necrosis, and even death," said Raoul.
Xylazine is not an opioid, so Narcan, or naloxone, is not effective in reversing the effects of the drug.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, xylazine-related overdoses increased by 1,127 percent in the Southern region of the United States between 2020 and 2021.
Xylazine-related overdoses increased by 750 percent in the Western region, 516 percent in the Mideast region, and 103% in the Northeast region.
In 2022, approximately 23 percent of all fentanyl powder and 7 percent of all fentanyl pills seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration contained xylazine.
Attorney General Raoul is joined by a coalition of 39 attorneys general.
The coalition emphasized the following measures in their letter to Congressional leadership:
- Classifying the illicit use of xylazine as a Schedule III drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
- Allowing the DEA to track the manufacturing and sales of xylazine to ensure that it is not diverted.
- Requiring the U.S. attorney general, acting through the DEA and in coordination with the FDA commissioner, to submit a report to Congress detailing the prevalence, risks, and recommendations on how to regulate the illicit use of xylazine.
- Ensuring all salts, isomers, and other forms of xylazine are also covered when restricting the drug’s illicit use.
Raoul is joined by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.