Xylazine is a medication in production for use in veterinary medicine for tranquilizing, sedating, and relieving pain for animal use only. The FDA approved the drug for vet use only, finding the drug is dangerous for human consumption. Additionally, vets use this drug for diagnostic procedures and surgery with animals. Structurally similar to the drug class phenothiazines, the chemical properties are similar to clonidine, levamisole, and tizanidine. 

These drugs cause a quick decrease in the production of neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Xylazine comes in liquid form; veterinarians inject it in different strengths. With surgical procedures, the drug can be effective in combination with other anesthetic medications. The drug reacts quickly, and the effects can last up to 4 hours with animals.

Xylazine Abuse: A Cause for Concern

With common street names such as Tranq, Tranq dope, sleep-cut, Philly dope, and Zombie drug, Xylazine is the latest public concern with drug addiction. In April 2023, The Food and Drug Administration officially announced that they were taking action to address the Xylazine problem in the United States.

The announcement’s main concern was restricting the unlawful entry of Xylazine-active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished products from other countries. Unfortunately, the usage of Xylazine bypassed the original intention of an animal sedation or pain control drug to illicit use, causing an alarming number of overdose deaths in the US. 

Investigation into the alarming number of deaths caused by overdose was proof that illicit drug dealers were lacing cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine with Xylazine in disturbing numbers. Xylazine is unsafe for human usage and may cause severe and life-threatening side effects.

Furthermore, because Xylazine is not of the same chemical makeup as opioids, naloxone is not known to be effective in reversing the adverse effects. Finally, the use of Xylazine in other drugs carries the same issue as fentanyl-laced drugs, as there is no way to determine if the drug is present in other substances.

How Did It Become An Abused Drug?

Xylazine became an object of concern because of the drug’s involvement in a large number of overdoses. The White House named Xylazine as an emerging drug threat in April 2023. The accumulation of drug seizures involving Xylazine during 2020 and 2021 in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Puerto Rico, and California turned on an alarm for officials. No one knew that when Bayer first made Xylazine in 1962 and FDA approval in 1972 for animal usage, it would show up combined with illicit drugs. Thus, the overdose deaths are surprising to many. 

Bayer, the manufacturer of Xylazine, did a study about Xylazine use with humans and found serious side effects to occur, such as severe hypotension and depressing impact on the central nervous system. Other complications found were adverse effects on heart rate, body temperature, and severe skin wounds, including dead and rotten tissue that may lead to severe infection and amputation.

However, those experimenting with drug combinations only have concerns about selling drugs and not the welfare of the public. Xylazine has been found to lengthen the euphoric effect of fentanyl, which combined are two hazardous compounds. 

Tranq Dope Stats

Heroin and fentanyl abusers may unknowingly find Xylazine combined with their drug injection. The addition of this drug into any drug combination may cause compromising situations if an overdose occurs or even in professional drug detox. However, Xylazine, in combination with fentanyl or Tranq Dope, is often purposely added to lengthen the euphoria.

The Drug Enforcement Agency reports that Xylazine is causing perhaps the deadliest threat the country has faced, even worse than fentanyl. DEA has found Tranq Dope in 48 out of 50 states, and in 2022, 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained Xylazine. 

Effects of Xylazine Abuse

Those overdosing when Xylazine is present must provide supportive care as Naloxone does not work in the treatment of Xylazine overdose. The effects of Xylazine abuse in polysubstance abuse can include low blood pressure, fast heart rate, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Xylazine abuse has a connection with severe, necrotic skin ulcers that may require wound management, antibiotics, and, in extreme cases, hospitalization. 

Effects of Xylazine toxicity in humans can include the following signs and symptoms:

  • Bradycardia or slowed heart rate
  • Central nervous system depression (sedation, drowsiness and disorientation)
  • Respiratory depression (slowed or stopped breathing)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Hypothermia (extreme and dangerous drops in body temps)
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels)
  • Staggering
  • Blurred Vision and miosis (pinpoint pupils)
  • Painful and necrotic skin ulcerations
  • Coma
  • Death

Xylazine Abuse and Overdose

Xylazine abuse can occur and lead to dependence, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms when use stops. There is no known antidote for Xylazine overdose. Xylazine is not an opioid drug, so Naloxone, Narcan, Kloxxado, Zimhi, and their generics are ineffective. Treatment can be more frustrating because Xylazine is not easily recognizable in routine toxicology testing. 

Common withdrawal symptoms from Xylazine include:

  • Agitation
  • Vision problems
  • Disabling migraines
  • Severe anxiety
  • Severe hypertension
  • Restlessness and irritability

Xylazine Detox

Managing withdrawal in a professional detox setting is essential for those with a Xylazine use disorder. The detoxification from Xylazine is still under study and not well-defined, but managing the withdrawal symptoms through medication-assisted treatment is vital.

In most cases, other opioids are involved, so treatment of other substances may be a considerable factor. Pain management is a consideration since painful wounds may need treatment and an administration of antibiotics. 

Access Professional Xylazine Detox in Tennessee

Xylazine is a dangerous drug that exists in other substances involving misuse or abuse. Detox West of Tennessee offers professional detox programs for opioids and also includes medication-assisted treatment for symptom management. Safe and effective detox programs to jump-start therapy that provides medical treatment for Xylazine wounds are available.

Contact the admissions advisors today to begin healing.