WASHINGTON-xylazine is not a drug that you find in medicine cabinets, but it kills people.
Used by veterinarians to calm horses and cattle, this animal tranquilizer is added to fentanyl and other street drugs. It is not approved for human use. It is a dangerous tranquilizer and not an opioid.
Because it’s not an opioid, it doesn’t respond to the life-saving drug Narcan. This means that people who abuse xylazine are more likely to die.
Congress is in the process of designating the drug as a controlled substance, and the US Drug Enforcement Agency sounded the alarm earlier this month. Xylazine is a common problem and has been reported to be found in fentanyl mixes in 48 out of 50 states a public health alert from the DEA.
“Xylazine makes the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced — fentanyl — even deadlier,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said earlier this month.
What you need to know: Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, is the latest threat in the opioid epidemic
What Congress intends to do about Xylazine
Congress wants to make xylazine a controlled substance as the country battles the recent spate of the opioid crisis.
The House and Senate introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to help the DEA and local law enforcement “get xylazine off our streets,” according to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.
“Drug traffickers go to great lengths to pad their profits with dangerous drugs like tranq, and we must empower law enforcement to crack down on their proliferation in our communities,” said Masto, lead sponsor of the Senate bill.
“Tranq” is one of the street names for the drug. It is also known as “Tranq Dope”, “Sleep Cut” and “Zombie Heroin”. Medical use brand names include AnaSed, Rompun and Sedazine.
Merrick Garland to the Senators: Fentanyl was “deliberately released” by Mexican drug cartels.
Republican and Democratic senators support anti-xylazine bill
“Drug overdoses remain unacceptably high as cartels and traffickers continue to inundate our nation with deadly and ever-evolving poison,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “We cannot successfully prevent these tragedies with one hand tied behind our backs.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan, DN.H., is also a Principal Sponsor. Other Senators supporting the bill are Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H.; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; Shelley Moore Capito RW. Va.; Roger Marshall, R-Can.; and Joe Manchin, DW.Va.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., will hold a press conference on the subject Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
“No family is immune”: As Congress debates fentanyl, mothers share their grief at hearings
House bill to combat xylazine is gaining traction
On the side of the House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats have introduced a similar bill to get xylazine off the streets, including Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif.; August Pfluger, R-Texas; Gus Bilirakis, R Fla.; Ken Buck, R-Colo.; and Chris Pappas, DN.H.
Xylazine has legitimate uses in agriculture, and lawmakers say they want to prevent it from being abused on the street.
Drug traffickers combine xylazine and fentanyl to create a “toxic drug concoction” that is cheaper, deadlier and more addictive, Panetta and Pfluger said in a statement.
“Our goal is to save lives and ensure law enforcement has the resources needed to respond appropriately to those who create these deadly concoctions that are killing so many of our neighbors,” Bilirakis said in a statement. “At the same time, we need to ensure that veterinarians using Xylazine for legitimate purposes have the opportunity to continue doing so. Our legislation strikes the right balance.”
How is fentanyl smuggled into the US?: Lawmakers are asking tough questions to stem the flow
How many fentanyl deaths?
Xylazine is added to fentanyl, a fast-acting opioid that has fueled another deadly wave in an epidemic that began in the mid-1990s with increased prescription of addictive pills like OxyContin.
Between 2000 and 2020, about 1 million people died from drug overdoses. During that time, more than half were due to opioids. By 2020, at least 75% of drug overdose deaths were linked to opioids, the US said US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of deaths has steadily increased over two decades, with increasing dependency on prescription painkillers and heroin, and then increased sharply in recent years due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
A large number of deaths have also been attributed to fentanyl poisoning, which occurs when fentanyl is mixed with other street drugs without the user’s knowledge. There were several reports of deaths of young people from buying and using pills they didn’t know were laced – or filled – with fentanyl.
According to the latest data from the CDC, between August 2021 and August 2022, nearly 108,000 Americans died from drug poisoning, 66% of which involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
What is fentanyl poisoning?: These guests of the State of the Union lost their son to it
Candy Woodall is a convention reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is xylazine? Congress is taking action in the fentanyl fight against this drug
Source : news.yahoo.com