Bill tracking "tranq" signed into Indiana law

Courtesy-Indiana General Assembly

INDIANAPOLIS –State Rep. Jennifer Meltzer’s (R-Shelbyville) first bill tracking whether a dangerous street drug that is sweeping the country is resulting in overdose deaths in Indiana has been signed into law.

Meltzer said that xylazine, also known as the street drug “tranq,” is a veterinary sedative used in livestock surgeries but has been found in a growing number of overdose deaths across the United States.

“We are seeing more overdose deaths being linked to xylazine and this bill can help us track its prevalence, and ultimately develop strategies to combat it and save lives,” Meltzer said. “Many users may not know this veterinary sedative is being mixed with more common street drugs, and that it is not responsive to overdose reversal medications.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, xylazine is a central nervous system depressant that can cause drowsiness, amnesia, slow breathing, and for heart rate and blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels. Repeated xylazine use is also associated with skin ulcers, abscesses, and related complications.

She said “tranq” is being mixed with fentanyl and other dangerous substances and opioids. Because the drug is not an opiate, overdose reversal medications like Naloxone or Narcan are less effective. According to the DEA, xylazine-related overdose deaths in the Midwest increased by more than 500% from 2020 to 2021. Additionally, DEA forensic labs have identified the sedative 370% more across the U.S. in 2021 compared to 2020.

Meltzer’s legislation, unanimously supported at every point in the process, will task coroners with testing for any trace of xylazine in suspected and known drug overdose deaths. This includes if the victim was resistant to reversal medications. She said the data gathered from these reports will help Indiana get a clear picture of the drug’s presence in the state and begin to form an action plan.

House Enrolled Act 1286, which is Meltzer’s first law to have been enacted, will go into effect on July 1.

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