Xylazine and fentanyl can be a deadly combination

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Drug Charges

Xylazine is a central nervous system depressant that is used by veterinarians to sedate animals, but the drug also causes psychoactive effects in humans. This worries policymakers because xylazine is inexpensive and legal in most states. A kilogram of xylazine can be purchased online for as little as $6, and groups that distribute controlled substances purchase the drug in large quantities. They do this because xylazine increases the potency of opioids like fentanyl without driving up manufacturing costs. Xylazine is a Schedule I controlled substance in Florida.

Overdose crisis

The low cost and legal status of xylazine seems to be making the nation’s opioid overdose problem much worse. According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, xylazine use was involved in 480 of the city’s 1,413 unintentional overdose fatalities in 2022. In almost all of these overdose cases, xylazine had been mixed with fentanyl. When the University of North Carolina tested drug samples provided by 150 syringe exchange and harm reduction programs across the country, xylazine was found in fentanyl from 15 states.

The legal status of xylazine

Possessing or using xylazine can lead to serious drug charges in several states. Florida was the first state to classify xylazine as a controlled substance. The drug is also a controlled substance in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, which are all states that have been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Lawmakers in states including New York, Indiana, South Dakota, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia are considering bills that would classify xylazine as a controlled substance.

Lawmakers taking action

Xylazine is a drug that is used in veterinarian medicine to sedate animals. Groups that manufacture and distribute controlled substances add xylazine to opioid drugs like fentanyl to increase their potency, which has led to a rise in overdose deaths. Xylazine is a Schedule I controlled substance in Florida, and lawmakers in many other states have introduced bills that would add the veterinary drug to their lists of controlled substances.


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