What is Xylazine?

     Xylazine is a new drug that is being laced into multiple other drugs now, including those that also contain fentanyl. The alarming thing about this drug though is that it is not an opioid, it is a strong animal sedative or tranquilizer. This means that Narcan, an over-the-counter medication that can stop opioid overdoses and fentanyl poisonings, will not be able to work for xylazine. However, many of the drugs that contain xylazine also contain fentanyl, so Narcan should still be administered either way.

Dangers of Xylazine

     Xylazine is dangerous as it lowers a person's blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. It also can cause high blood glucose and stops the reflex to gasp for air. Madison Police Lt. Kipp Hartman said, "I think the vast majority of people don't even know it is in the drugs they have. A lot of the time, dealers dealing the drug won't know either.” In Dane County alone, there were nine xylazine-related deaths in 2021. So far, there were five in 2022, but 70 other overdose deaths are still awaiting toxicology results, so Olsen expects that number to grow.

How are people exposed to xylazine?

     - People who use illegal drugs may not know that xylazine is present.

     - Xylazine is usually injected, but can also be swallowed or sniffed.

     - Street drugs including cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl can be mixed with xylazine to enhance drug effects and increase street value by increasing its weight.

     - The DEA laboratory system reported that approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA in 2022 contained xylazine.

What can we do to stop it?

     Since Narcan is not able to reverse the alarming effects of xylazine, it is important to educate yourself and others about the dangers of this drug. When it comes to fighting addiction, it is helpful to have access to recovery programs.

     At Tellurian, our goal is to help patients every step of the way, no matter the struggle. If someone is experiencing an active overdose, call 911, administer Narcan, and give rescue breaths until first responders arrive. For further questions about xylazine and recovery, contact us at 608-222-7311 or patientservices@tellurian.org


     What You Should Know About Xylazine. (2023, July 17). CDC Injury Center.https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/other-drugs/xylazine/faq.html

     Mallory, B. (2023, June 8). Xylazine-laced drugs new emerging threat. Channel3000.Com.https://www.channel3000.com/news/xylazine-laced-drugs-new-emerging-threat/article_add21fe0-063e-11ee-8e12-5fb4dabffaf6.html