The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is cautioning the public about a steep increase in the distribution of fentanyl contaminated with xylazine, an animal sedative also known as “Tranq.” The DEA reports that this combination of drugs makes fentanyl even more dangerous despite already being one of the deadliest drug threats in the U.S.
In 2022, The DEA seized fentanyl containing xylazine in 48 of 50 U.S. states. Xylazine was found in nearly a quarter of fentanyl powder and seven percent of fentanyl pills confiscated by the agency.
When used together, the two drugs increase the probability of fatal drug poisoning in those who consume them. Furthermore, individuals who inject a mixture that comprises xylazine are at a greater risk of severe injuries like necrosis, which can result in amputations.
The bulk of fentanyl in the United States is brought in illegally by the Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels, who acquire the ingredients from China. Although naloxone can counteract the effects of opioids, it’s powerless against xylazine. Despite this, experts advise administering naloxone to sufferers of suspected drug poisoning. Recently, the FDA notified healthcare providers about the dangers of xylazine-contaminated illegal substances to patients.