DEA Administrator Ann Milgram says that "Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier."
The DEA says that xylazine mixed with fentanyl places users at a higher risk of fatal drug overdose. Xylazine is an FDA-approved drug used as a sedative and pain reliever in animals, and can depress breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature to critical levels in humans, Yahoo News reported.
Xylazine-positive overdose deaths increased in all regions of the US from 2020 to 2021, according to DEA data.
Experts have said that xylazine was illegally introduced into the human drug supply to extend the high of heroin and fentanyl.
The DEA warns that naloxone cannot be used to reverse the effects of xylazine. Despite this, experts always recommend administering naloxone if someone might be suffering a drug poisoning.
The FDA recently announced restrictions on the importation of xylazine, and shipments of the drug could also be detained to ensure they are meant for legitimate use.
Xylazine-positive overdose deaths increased in all regions of the US from 2020 to 2021, DEA data shows, though it isn’t clear when such deaths were recorded.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 107,735 Americans died from drug poisonings between August 2021 and August 2022, with 66% of those deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The chemicals used to produce fentanyl come from China and are exported to Mexican drug cartels, which make fentanyl in clandestine labs south of the US border.
Xylazine has mainly been found added to opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, and has also been detected in stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. People use the drug by injecting, snorting, swallowing or inhaling it.
Among the side effects of tranq are ulcers that crop up on various parts of the body, which sometimes lead to the loss of fingers or limbs.