The Risks of Xylazine in Fentanyl

Xylazine is a sedative that is only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for veterinary use, not for consumption by humans. Recently, xylazine has been increasingly found mixed in with Fentanyl. Exposure to xylazine in humans can cause painful lesions, necrosis, and even limb loss. Xylazine has the potential to worsen addiction.

Fentanyl and xylazine mixtures have been seized in 48 of the 50 states, and the DEA reported “approximately 23% of fentanyl power and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.”[1] Scarier still, these numbers increase based on the city or location you are in, as Philadelphia found xylazine in over 90% of their tested samples.[2]

Signs of Xylazine Exposure

If you suspect you or a loved one could have been exposed, common signs are drowsiness, lethargy, and in rare instances, apnea or death. In dangerous levels, xylazine can lower breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature to critical levels. Injection sites can quickly become life-threatening, as severe skin wounds or patches of necrotic tissue can occur. If the site becomes infection, amputation might become necessary.

Things to Know About Xylazine

Currently, routine toxicology tests do not look for xylazine. Suffering from an overdose could take additional time from a healthcare provider to diagnose, since it is currently not tested for. Additionally, since xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan) does not reverse its effects. Currently, medical procedures are still being developed on how to deal with xylazine exposure and usage.

Overdose Prevention

If you are concerned that you or a loved one are at risk of exposure, reach out for recovery treatment with ARCNH. Through counseling, the dangers of xylazine can be discussed and potentially harm reduction. Since the substance is often a contaminant within opioids, such as fentanyl, we can offer support to reduce the overdose risk with treatment.

A Path to Recovery

How can you prevent exposure to xylazine? The best method of prevention is discontinuing use of fentanyl and other substances that may contain xylazine. Take the opportunity today to reach out to our substance use disorder treatment and recovery coaching. We’re here to assist with the journey to recovery.




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