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Xylazine Is A Terrifying And Common Adulterant in North Carolina
Many people have heard about xylazine, an animal tranquilizer that has begun to be added to fentanyl as an adulterant. Xylazine, also known as tranq, is an animal tranquilizer routinely showing up in testing labs in North Carolina, posing a threat of overdose to many people who use drugs.
25% Of Tested Opioids in North Carolina Contained Xylazine
Out of around 600 samples sent to Colin Miller, a researcher and community liaison with the UNC Opioid Data Lab, about 25% of them contained tranq, he said in a recent radio interview. Many of his samples came from drug users who sent them in because they seemed "off" or overly intense. Because of this, he says that street drugs probably have a lesser percentage. Most of the drugs that he tested contained heroin or fentanyl.
Dangers of Xylazine
Xylazine is being added to illegal opioids around North Carolina, presenting a danger to many drug users. Because xylazine is a sedative and not a tranquilizer, an overdose can't be entirely reversed with Narcan.
Street drugs can also vary in potency; there's no consistent dosage from one batch to the next.
Tranq has also caused users to develop painful, open wounds on their skin. However, it is also highly addictive; even painful sores that get infected are not enough to stop habitual users.
"Those wounds can take, you know, between one month and I'd say four or five months to heal completely. If under you know the right conditions and if cared for it, everything. If they're not cared for, they can get infected, which can lead to really bad consequences, like amputations and things of that nature, potentially death," Miller explains of the wounds. Many longer-term users experience necrosis – a death of tissue requiring amputation, so it won't spread.
Xylazine is added to drugs like heroin or fentanyl to help the high seem longer or more intense. Most users initially don't know they're using the drug but may become addicted to adultered drugs because of it. They run a high risk of overdose because there's no safe dose for people using it; it's only been previously used on animals. In addition to that, if you overdose on xylazine, there's no reversal drug.
Fighting Xylazine on The Streets
Last month, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) designated fentanyl adulterated or associated with xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States. This designation is essential in fighting this drug's spread on the street.
Xylazine's new designation allows the Biden Administration to take steps to publish a whole-of-government response "that includes evidence-based prevention, treatment, and supply reduction."
ONDCP is working with government partners on xylazine testing, treatment, and evidence-backed treatments to help people who struggle with opioids or tranq dope specifically. The administration will also be able to direct research toward the health implications of tranq combined with other drugs, its mechanism, and other science-backed data that can help the government make essential decisions.
Fentanyl and Xylazine Are Dangerous Drugs
Because illegal drugs are unregulated, the purity of the drug may not be known. More people are overdosing in North Carolina due to the presence of xylazine in street drugs.
Heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine can contain xylazine or other contaminants. Many people have overdosed on counterfeit pills that closely resemble prescription medications.
Many people struggle with using drugs and may need treatment to stop using. Medication-Assisted Treatment can help with opioid cravings but may not be suitable if you are addicted to multiple drugs. It is up to you and a medical professional to decide the most appropriate treatment.
Getting Help for Opioid Addiction
If you or your loved ones are struggling with opioid addiction, we can help. Call us at 910-295-7246 to learn about your options, including Medication-Assisted Treatment.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.