A new “zombie drug” is wreaking havoc across the U.S. The drug, growing in popularity as “tranq” is formerly known as Xylazine. Primarily, it is used as a veterinary sedative and analgesic, to calm and immobilize animals for procedures such as surgery, diagnostic tests, and transportation. However, it is now running rampant on the city streets and has been called a “zombie drug” as those under its influence experience lethal symptoms from the drug including rotting skin.

The illegal recreational use of Xylazine is often sought due to its sedative effects. Anyone playing around with this drug is putting themselves at high risk of dangerous and deadly health consequences such as respiratory depression, seizures, and coma. Xylazine is not approved for human use and should only be used under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian – period. Even worse, some are combining the drug with other harmful drugs like fentanyl and heroin. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), synthetic opioid-involved death rates had a 56% increase from 2019-2020 (excluding methadone). Fentanyl has been a massive issue and main contributor to the opioid crisis … now mixing it with Xylazine complicates things even further. These horrific combos is where the term “tranq” has come from as many users don’t just experience rotting flesh, they experience rotting brain function, literally losing their ability to use their brain in the most basic of ways. Users also have said ulcers on their skin pop up out of nowhere – not even where they are injecting the drug. They often find themselves slumped over with knuckles touching the floor in a dazed and out of it state.

Unfortunately, the Drug Enforcement Administration has not listed Xylazine as a controlled substance yet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), does monitor the drug and issued a warning in November of 2022 about the drug being problematic and potentially becoming a major issue. Of further issue is that Xylazine is thought to be Narcan resistant, as it is not an opioid, so overdosing is very likely. The highly addictive drug is dangerous and communities across the nation are struggling with it turning up more and more on their streets.

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