Officials said the formal designation was a sign of the grave danger posed by xylazine, which can cause horrific wounds and, when mixed with fentanyl, increase the likelihood of overdose.
By Jan Hoffman April 12, 2023 New York Times
The White House on Wednesday designated a common animal tranquilizer that is increasingly mixed into street fentanyl as an “emerging drug threat,” a formal move that requires the administration to create strategies to enhance law enforcement efforts, health interventions and data collection to combat it.
This is the first time that the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy has ever identified a substance for that designation, a mark of the gravity of the danger that it considers to be posed by the drug, xylazine.
Xylazine was approved for veterinary procedures, primarily in cattle and horses, 50 years ago but has never been sanctioned for medical use in humans. Known popularly as tranq or tranq dope, it is a powerful and addictive sedative that slows breathing and heart rate, increases the risk of fatal overdose and often produces severe skin ulcers and abscesses that have led to amputations.
“Many communities are not even aware of the threat in their backyard,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, the head of the drug control office, who is often referred to as the national drug czar, said in a briefing with reporters.
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