The animal tranquilizer xylazine has become an increasingly common cutting agent
Nearly half of street drugs in America are laced with a dangerous tranquilizer for animals, a study finds.
More than 40 percent of the samples tested in Rhode Island contained xylazine, which health officials said can cause “serious and life-threatening side effects.”
Xylazine, sometimes known as a “sedative,” is typically used in veterinary medicine as a tranquilizer or pain reliever for cows and horses.
It became popular recreationally in Puerto Rico and emerged in Philadelphia in the early 2010s, but it’s now popping up in other places as well.
In November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned healthcare workers that the drug is used as a filler in heroin, meth, cocaine and opioids to increase their effects and prolong supply.
For their analysis, Brown University researchers analyzed 90 drug samples from the toxicology and ethnographic drug surveillance testing program.
Although none of the drugs were sold as xylazine, forty contained the animal tranquilizer – mainly fentanyl.
Though the drug is widely available in Rhode Island, researchers there say most users and community workers don’t even know what xylazine is.
The FDA has warned health care workers that it “can be difficult to distinguish a xylazine overdose from an opioid overdose” — both drugs cause lung failure.
But unlike opioids, xylazine overdoses cannot be controlled with naloxone, the rescue drug used to reverse an opioid overdose. Another concern is that people can also become physically dependent on the drug.
This creates complications for addicts who want to start taking a drug used to treat opioid use disorders, such as methadone.
If someone stops using fentanyl as part of this process, they would also experience xylazine withdrawal.
Patients who abuse drugs contaminated with xylazine can also develop ulcers and sores that “take a long time to heal,” Chelsea Shover, an assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told ABC.
Xylazine was implicated in up to 20 percent of overdose deaths last year in the worst-hit states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Sold under the brand name Rompun in the US, it first became popular in Puerto Rico in the 2000s, where it is known as “Anestecia de Caballo”.
It has become a widely used adulterant for heroin, a cheap way for drug dealers to enhance the drug’s absorption and potency.
In Puerto Rico, xylazine was most prevalent in a drug combination nicknamed “speedball”, consisting of heroin and cocaine, used to offset the effects of both the tranquilizer and the upper.
A 2008 study found that more than 90 percent of the syringes used for speedballs tested from Puerto Rico contained xylazine.
Public health officials received partial evidence of the appearance of ulcers on users’ skin where they injected the drug.
The painful lesions are often made worse when users inject repeatedly in the same spot, hoping to benefit from the opioid’s pain-relieving effects.
The drug has left a stain on Philadelphia, home of the East Coast’s largest open-air heroin drug market.
Between 2010 and 2015, xylazine was detected in 40 of Philly’s 1,854 accidental overdose deaths (just two percent) with evidence of heroin and/or fentanyl.
Xylazine’s presence in Philadelphia has since increased.
It was found in 10 percent of fentanyl and/or heroin overdose deaths in 2017, 18 percent in 2018, and 31 percent in 2019.
In 2020, xylazine was present in nearly 26 percent of overdose deaths in Philadelphia, followed by about 19 percent in Maryland and 10 percent in Connecticut.
What is xylazine?
Xylazine is a non-opioid drug originally approved by the FDA in 1972 as a sedative and analgesic for veterinary use.
The drug acts as a central alpha-2-adrenergic receptor agonist in the brainstem, causing a rapid decrease in norepinephrine and dopamine release in the central nervous system (CNS).
Xylazine can also bind to other CNS receptors, although more research is needed.
Xylazine is not approved for human use.
symptoms and risks
Signs and symptoms of acute xylazine toxicity may include shortness of breath, high blood pressure, slow heartbeat, hypothermia, and high blood sugar.
Overdoses can resemble those of opioids, making it difficult to distinguish.
But unlike opioids, xylazine overdoses cannot be controlled with naloxone, the rescue drug used to reverse an opioid overdose.
Repeated exposure to xylazine by injection has been associated with severe, necrotic skin ulcerations that are distinct from other soft-tissue infections (e.g., cellulitis, abscesses) commonly associated with injecting drug use.
These ulcerations can develop in areas of the body distant from the injection site.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/animal-tranquilizer-xylazine-is-being-laced-inside-illicit-drugs-like-coke-and-molly-fda-warns/ The animal tranquilizer “Xylazine” is being laced into illegal drugs like Coke and Molly, the FDA warns