A tranquilizer believed to be behind an increasing number of deaths has reportedly entered into the illicit drug supply of New York City. Xylazine, better known as ‘tranq,’ is often used as an animal sedative.
According to law enforcement officials, the drug has been distributed out of the Bronx and mixed with a number of other drugs, including heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine.
New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said that the current situation in Gotham is “probably the most dangerous that I’ve ever seen.”
Currently, New York City estimates that the drug is a factor in between 10 and 20% of overdose deaths in the city.
“People who believe they’re buying one drug may well get another drug that they have no tolerance for whatsoever. Xylazine is certainly a part of that sad story,” she told the New York Post.
In April, the White House highlighted the threat of tranq being mixed with other drugs.
According to federal statistics, the use of the drug increased significantly since 2020. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of deaths linked to the drug increased by more than 1,100% in the South alone.
NYC is enabling drug use and addiction by operating injection centers & drug paraphernalia vending machines instead of providing treatment, cracking down on dealers & telling Biden to shut down border to stop the cartels profiting from poisoning Americans
— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) July 9, 2023
Zylazine is considered especially dangerous due to the high risk of causing the flesh to rot.
The tranquilizer is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, and like fentanyl, it is often manufactured using chemicals from China.
Congress is currently considering the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, which in part calls for the attorney general to submit a report on the manufacturing and distribution of the drug within one year.
A number of states have enacted, or are considering, restrictions on the use of the sedative.
In April, Pennsylvania listed xylazine as a Schedule III drug, restricting its use. In addition, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) similarly listed the drug as a Schedule III controlled substance. The drug can still be used for its on-label purpose by veterinarians.
Florida currently lists xylazine as a Schedule I controlled substance. The state’s Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) called on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to declare it a federally controlled substance.