New England

Animal Tranquilizer Appearing in Drug Overdoses Across the Region

An animal tranquilizer is turning up in drug overdoses across the country.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says xylazine was involved in fatal drug overdoses in 23 states in 2019, with a highest rate — 67% — happening in the Northeast.

Officials say the the animal sedative used in veterinary medicine to sedate cows, horses, sheep and other animals is being added to other drugs, mostly fentanyl and heroin, as a cutting agent.

But unlike opioids there’s no antidote, like Narcan, specific to a xylazine overdose. The tranquilizer is also not a controlled substance and not approved for human use. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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