New England

Animal Tranquilizer Appearing in Drug Overdoses Across the Region

DEA

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.

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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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