Something new is going around in the world of illicit drugs. It has been discovered that Xylazine is showing up in cocaine and heroin, and users of these drugs are unaware of its presence.
Anyone who uses cocaine or heroin or other opioids should become familiar with the facts about Xylazine. In some cases, it could mean the difference between living or suffering a fatal overdose.
Xylazine is added to other substances, especially illicit opioids, to extend or intensify the high. As the use of Xylazine increases, fatal overdoses rise. For example, in 2015, Xylazine was detected in only 1% of overdose deaths. But, in 2020, it was detected in 6.7% of fatal overdoses.
If you’re wondering, “What is Xylazine?” and why it is so dangerous, take a look at the following information. Whether you use illicit substances or know someone who does, you need to know the facts about Xylazine and its potential risks.
What Is Xylazine?
Xylazine is a veterinary medicine that was created in 1962. It is used as a sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant when treating large animals. Clinical trials on humans were terminated due to Xylazine’s severe effects on the central nervous system. Therefore, the drug is not FDA-approved for human use and is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Street names for Xylazine include tranq, tranq dope, or sleep cut.
Keep in mind that Xylazine may be present in other illicit opioids, so using heroin or cocaine can put you at high risk of unknowingly ingesting the substance.
What Happens When Xylazine Is Used by Humans?
When a person ingests Xylazine, it decreases the release of norepinephrine and dopamine in the central nervous system. The effects can include sedation, muscle relaxation, and analgesia. The onset of these effects is quick and may last up to four to eight hours.
When Xylazine is combined with fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, or other opioids, the effects are compounded and can be life-threatening. Opioids can slow a person’s breathing and heart rate and decrease blood pressure. Although it is not an opioid, Xylazine used in combination with opioids enhances their harmful effects.
The side effects of Xylazine vary depending on the amount ingested and the presence of other substances, but common toxic effects can include:
- Blurred vision
- Respiratory depression
- Skin lesions
Some Xylazine users report being knocked out for six to eight hours after taking it. Others have reported being sexually molested while using Xylazine and were unaware of what happened until after the fact. These disturbing facts highlight the importance of knowing the risks of using Xylazine.
It is also possible that people with a high tolerance for fentanyl may think they can take Xylazine without risk, putting themselves in a potentially dangerous position.
How Is Xylazine Ingested?
Like many other illicit substances, Xylazine can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, inhaled, or injected. It is common for people to mix Xylazine with a speedball before using it. In the event of an overdose, it is difficult to determine whether the person has taken Xylazine or an opioid.
Is Xylazine Addictive?
A person can become dependent upon Xylazine leading to increased tolerance, addiction, and overdose. Whether Xylazine use is intentional or unintentional, it can lead to addiction. If Xylazine is combined with other opioids, an addiction to both drugs is possible.
Does Narcan Reverse Xylazine Overdose?
Because Xylazine is not an opioid, Narcan (Naloxone) doesn’t work to reverse a Xylazine overdose. However, since Xylazine is often used in combination with opioids, Narcan should be administered if an overdose occurs. In these instances, Naloxone will not reverse the side effects of Xylazine enough to prevent a fatality even though it blocks the effects of the opioid.
Take Action to Avoid Xylazine Dangers
Another important fact about Xylazine is that it is often used by unscrupulous dealers to enhance the effects of other drugs and increase profits. Heroin or cocaine use pose a high risk of unknowingly using Xylazine. To avoid putting yourself in this dangerous position, seek professional addiction treatment. A person who overcomes an opioid addiction will be less likely to come into contact with Xylazine.
If you’re concerned about the risks of using Xylazine, please take action today. Contact Design for Change Recovery to talk about a treatment plan that is customized specifically for you. We provide a safe, secure environment where you can feel comfortable during your time in our program. Also, our team of compassionate staff and counselors will ensure that all of your needs are met.
Our evidence-based methodologies are designed to heal the physical, emotional, and mental factors that played a role in your substance use. When you complete our treatment program, you’ll leave with a newfound sense of motivation and confidence, and the skills to avoid substance use for a lifetime. Contact us now at our Lancaster, CA facility to learn more.