Title: Rise of Animal Tranquilizer Xylazine in Illicit Opioid Supply Fuels Deaths and Devastation
Medical researchers are urgently calling for greater education and awareness about the alarming rise of xylazine in the United States’ illicit opioid supply. This animal tranquilizer, when combined with heroin and fentanyl, has led to a surge in deaths, severe ulcers, and open wounds among drug users.
Due to insufficient awareness about this drug, the number of overdoses and record levels of deaths have skyrocketed. Experts warn that xylazine can escalate the potential for fatal overdoses, as it further suppresses breathing, exacerbating the already potent effects of opioids.
Dubbed “tranq dope,” the deadly combination of xylazine and fentanyl has now been detected in 48 states, with approximately one-quarter of the fentanyl powder supply adulterated with the tranquilizer. Disturbingly, xylazine functions as a psychoactive medication similar to Xanax and other benzodiazepines, establishing its independent addictive qualities alongside opioids.
Regrettably, individuals seeking to overcome their addiction to heroin or fentanyl are finding it increasingly challenging as xylazine adds another layer of complexity to the recovery process. Naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, has no effect on xylazine, leaving those who overdose on the drug vulnerable to suffocation and fatal poisonings.
Beyond fatalities, xylazine has also been found to cause severe open skin ulcerations and chronic wounds, often leading to amputations and infections. In light of these complications, individuals with open infections face significant barriers in accessing addiction treatment, as rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters may turn them away.
The low cost of xylazine has made it an attractive option for dealers, as it increases their profits by requiring smaller quantities of fentanyl or heroin in their mixtures. Furthermore, the tranquilizer carries similar effects to opioids, but with a longer-lasting impact compared to fentanyl alone.
Recognizing the gravity of this looming crisis, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released a national response plan in July aimed at countering the “emerging threat” posed by xylazine. However, medical experts are skeptical that this drug epidemic in the U.S. will soon come to an end.
In conclusion, the infiltration of xylazine into the illicit opioid supply has ushered in a new stage of devastation in the country’s ongoing drug epidemic. Urgent education, awareness campaigns, and comprehensive treatment solutions are needed to combat this emerging threat and save lives. The battle against addiction continues, as medical experts brace for an uncertain future fraught with unprecedented challenges.
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