Officials at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) are having a hard time tracking the spread of the so-called “zombie drug” xylazine because it is technically legal there.
Xylazine, also known as “tranq,” is a veterinary tranquilizer approved in the U.S. for use in cows and horses. Despite not being approved for humans, it has become increasingly present in illegal drugs. Sources say it can either be cooked into powder form and mixed with opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, or pressed into counterfeit pills or sedatives.
In April, the LASD launched a pilot program in partnership with crime lab analysts to better document the drug’s prevalence. Under the program, the analysts will start noting down any preliminary signs of xylazine they find when testing confiscated drugs. Lab workers simply dismissed test results showing the presence of xylazine.
According to the LASD, the problem is that the drug is technically a legal substance.
Capt. Ernest Bille, who is in charge of the LASD’s scientific services bureau, said: “There are a bunch of different additives like vitamin C, which comes up a lot, that we don’t write down. The mission, given the volume of the caseload that we have, is to figure out [if] this a controlled substance or not.”
Nicole Nishida, spokeswoman for the LA field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), told the LA Times that they were seeing xylazine as an additive in fake fentanyl pills in the Greater LA area. Per federal data, about 23 percent of fentanyl powder and seven percent of fentanyl pills seized in 2022 contained xylazine.
“While the numbers are relatively low in our community compared to elsewhere in the U.S., the presence of xylazine is now becoming more frequent and the trend is concerning,” she remarked.
Flesh-eating xylazine an emerging threat across the country
Xylazine is also known for causing severe harms, with nurses describing wounds that are seemingly “eating away flesh from the inside out.” Xylazine also disfigures users through sores that cause limb amputation in some cases. (Related: Skin-rotting animal tranquilizer drug known as “tranq” spreads all over US.)
Bill Bodner, DEA special agent, described the effects of xylazine in an interview with local news station KTLA. He said: “It’s really gruesomely disfiguring people. It’s a vasoconstrictor. So, when you’re injecting it, it’s actually reducing the blood circulation.”
The DEA itself issued an urgent public safety alert against xylazine mixed with fentanyl. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram remarked that “xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier.”
The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) also reiterated the dangers of xylazine in an April 12 statement. ONDCP Director Dr. Rahul Gupta said in the statement: “As a physician, I am deeply troubled about the devastating impact of the fentanyl-xylazine combination. I am [also] immensely concerned about what this threat means for the nation.”
Gupta, in his official capacity as ONDCP director, also designated the lethal xylazine-fentanyl mix as an emerging threat. “By declaring xylazine combined with fentanyl as an emerging threat, we are being proactive in our approach to save lives and creating new tools for public health and public safety officials and communities,” he added.
Head over to Addiction.news for more stories about xylazine mixed in street drugs.
Watch this report that talks about xylazine found in people’s systems.
This video is from The Sword & Shield channel on Brighteon.com.
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