Since 2019, Maryland has seen an increase in the use of Xylazine as an adulterant to the illegal drug supply. Comparing the first three quarters for calendar years 2019 and 2020, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) Unintentional Intoxication Death data through February 28, 2021, shows an increase of 175% (76 to 209) in the number of opioid related overdose deaths involving Xylazine.
Xylazine is FDA approved for veterinary use as a sedative for large animals, such as horses. Xylazine is not FDA approved for human use due to side effects, including sedation, hypotension, and bradycardia. Xylazine is commonly used as an adulterant with heroin and fentanyl and increases the risk of overdose and death.
What Is Xylazine?
• Xylazine was first synthesized in 1962.
• Xylazine is a white or gray powder that may turn pink when mixed with water.
• Xylazine can be swallowed, inhaled, smoked, snorted, or injected.
• Xylazine is frequently found in a combination with heroin and cocaine. This combination is referred to as a “speedball.”
• Xylazine is sold under the following names: Rompun®, Anased®, Sedazine®, and Chanazine®.
• In the US, the street names for Xylazine include: Tranq Dope, Tranq, Trashcan, Steph Curry, Collateral Damage, Cardi B, 550, Rampage, or Black Mask.
Important Notes about Xylazine
• Xylazine may not be identified in routine lab analysis because it is primarily used as a cutting agent, not a primary or secondary substance of misuse.
• Xylazine does not bind to the opioid receptor, so Naloxone is not an effective tool. However, it is still recommended that Naloxone be administered for all suspected overdoses, due to the likelihood that the overdose involves heroin or fentanyl.
• Xylazine is not a DEA scheduled drug.
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