LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Law enforcement and lawmakers are raising awareness about a new deadly drug on the streets of Las Vegas.

According to the Clark County Coroner's Office, xylazine, better known as “tranq” on the street, has played a role in at least four overdose deaths in the valley since 2020.

Xylazine is not illegal, but it’s not approved for human use. Veterinarians use the drug to tranquilize large animals like horses.

Police say drug traffickers are cutting xylazine and fentanyl into common opioids.

The CDC says xylazine causes slowed breathing and heartbeat, amnesia, dangerously low blood pressure and death.

People who inject the drug can also develop severe wounds, including necrosis, which could lead to amputation.

Xylazine also does not have an approved antidote. Police say Narcan likely won't be effective if you or a loved one overdoses on the drug.

“Fentanyl is often disguised as a prescription pill, which can be 50 times more potent than heroin. You can only imagine how much deadlier the ingestion of these drugs can be if xylazine is incorporated into the mixture,” said Nick Farese, deputy chief of the Investigative Services Division for the LVMPD.

MORE: Fentanyl laced with animal tranquilizer 'emerging threat' in US

Metro police say they’ve seized 136 pounds of fentanyl just this year.

The DEA says 23 percent of fentanyl powder and 7 percent of fentanyl pills seized in 2022 contained xylazine.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto joined police in Monday’s press conference to call for the passage of her FEND Off Fentanyl Act, making it illegal to use xylazine for illicit purposes while keeping it accessible for veterinarians.

"To give law enforcement the tools they need to go after those traffickers, go after manufacturers, go after whoever wants to turn it into illicit purposes for profit,” Cortez Masto added.

“Do not allow yourself or someone you know to fall victim to these drugs. This is 100 percent preventable,” Farese said.

Police warn never to purchase prescription medicine on the streets or social media and only consume medication prescribed by a licensed physician and obtained from a licensed pharmacy.

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