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Sober living0Wisconsin legalizes xylazine test strips to prevent drug overdoses

Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures place users at a higher risk of suffering a fatal drug poisoning, according to the DEA’s public safety alert. The Biden Administration declared fentanyl laced with xylazine an “emerging threat” facing the U.S. on Wednesday. This is the first time this declaration has been made since the SUPPORT Act of 2018 established the White House has the authority to declare emerging threats. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, not much data is available on xylazine-related deaths, but overdose deaths linked to xylazine have the largest impact on the Northeast.

This page is not intended to give medical advice, clinical guidance, or treatment protocols. Drug Enforcement Administration advised her to start handling it as though it is. He possesses the same concerns as healthcare and EMS how long does it take to detox from alcohol personnel concerning xylazine’s aversion to Narcan. A member of law enforcement for nearly 35 years, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Tommy Farmer has spent most of his tenure in the realm of drug enforcement.

  1. The Drug Enforcement Administration said in March 2023 that nearly a quarter of powdered fentanyl tested by the agency’s labs in 2022 had xylazine mixed in.
  2. Overdose deaths involving xylazine have increased by “by 1,127% in the south, 750% in the west, more than 500% in the Midwest, and more than 100% in the northeast,” according to the announcement.
  3. To be designated as an “emerging threat,” the threat must meet certain criteria, such as increases in substance use across geographical regions, overdose deaths, or illness and hospital admissions from a certain drug or class of drugs.
  4. While xylazine has appeared in fatal overdoses, it’s unclear how much the sedative contributed to the person’s death because it is used in conjunction with the stronger opioids.
  5. Routine toxicology screens do not detect xylazine, according to the FDA, so additional tests are needed to determine whether the tranquilizer was involved in a drug overdose.

People who inject drugs are at a high risk for exposure to xylazine due to its increasing prevalence on the streets. Xylazine has primarily been found as a contaminant in combination with illicit fentanyl and heroin sold on the streets. It may be used unknowingly when injected with other street drugs, like heroin or fentanyl.

They also caveat that social media language is not analogous to everyday language, so future work on language-based models must take this into account. GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill he says will help save lives by legalizing xylazine test strips. “We have a very limited number of sedatives and analgesics that we can use in horses. It’s very hard to get them passed through the FDA when you’re giving them to million-dollar animals like Kentucky Derby winners.” Farmer is a part of Tennessee’s Dangerous Drug Task Force (TDDTF), a federally grant-funded operation that trains state and local law enforcement officers in how to respond to hazardous drug scenes. Echoing Eyo’s notion of xylazine’s presence in an opioid unbeknownst to the user, Farmer says many don’t find out until it’s too late.

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While it has been studied in humans, it is not approved for humans by the FDA, said Driessen. Because of its powerful sedative effects, some people who use drugs mixed with xylazine may also black out unexpectedly, which may lead to them falling or being unconscious in unsafe places, leaving them vulnerable to attack or injury. Dittmore said that she has seen “a lot more injuries,” including head injuries from falling. Zagorski said that people may also experience bedsores from resting on hard surfaces like concrete for hours at a time with no movement. It’s a veterinary sedative called xylazine, and experts and officials are racing to figure out where it’s coming from and how to help people who are taking it, even as it’s increasingly being identified in overdoses.

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As a physician who cares for people who use fentanyl, I worry about the ways xylazine increases their risk for overdose. I worry even more that misunderstandings about xylazine can make bystanders less likely to administer the lifesaving drug naloxone (Narcan) during an overdose. If you suspect an overdose, calling emergency medical services and administering naloxone are still the critical first steps to saving a life.

Its purpose, ultimately, would be to decriminalize testing strips for any new substance in the illicit drug scene. During public hearings for legalizing fentanyl testing strips, testimonies poured in about how important new beginning recovery strips were as a tool in harm reduction efforts, a point Billings underscored Tuesday. There’s also evidence that xylazine is highly addictive, with some users reporting withdrawal symptoms as severe as heroin.

In the absence of xylazine, employing Narcan as an overdose reversal has more than a 75% success rate. “Just when you think you’re making some progress and you’re saving more [lives] and you’re stopping the effects of that overdose, then you get something like xylazine,” Farmer said. Eyo encourages calling for emergency care if an individual responds passively to naloxone. “The use of xylazine is leading to skin infections and necrosis,” Eyo said. “Folks that use it by injection, they tend to have this skin infection, and a really bad one.”

Created in the 1960s, xylazine was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 1972 as an animal-safe pharmaceutical. And mixing it with fentanyl places people at a higher risk of suffering a fatal poisoning, the DEA says. Approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA in 2022 contained xylazine, according to Milgram. For more information on community overdose prevention and response, please visit the NYS OASAS Community Overdose Prevention Education webpage.

A recent import alert from the Food and Drug Administration aims to restrict unlawful importing of xylazine, but Zagorski said that it’s unclear where xylazine is coming from, with no obvious culprit or single source of the substance. “We say it adds legs. It kind of gives the illusion that your opiate high is lasting longer than it is,” Dittmore said. Improving testing and making it more accessible at the local level is the first step toward addressing the overdose crisis, Dittmore said. It can “add legs” to a fentanyl high because it can mimic the effect of the opioid and last longer in the body than the fentanyl, according to Alixe Dittmore, a training and content development coordinator at National Harm Reduction Coalition.

Is there a treatment for xylazine overdose in humans?

The FDA is continuing to investigate the source and will report when more information is available. In addition to its use as an adulterant in illicit drugs, the DEA reports it has been used in drug facilitated crimes to induce sleep. No, at this time there is no known xylazine antidote for safe and effective use in humans. Xylazine is NOT currently known to be reversed by naloxone (Narcan, Kloxxado, Zimhi, generics), an opiate antidote.

“They don’t need to be eyes open, wide awake in order for the overdose to be reversed. You’re just trying to get that breathing to resume again.” It’s immediately recognizable by the gruesome, scaly wounds that emerge on users’ skin, and can even cause injuries to their lungs. And in some parts of the United States, experts say it’s in as much as 90% of the drug supply. But “I can’t treat someone’s addiction if they’re already dead,” says Latronica. He praises a recent bill passed in Pennsylvania that legalized the strips – something he hopes will clear the way for xylazine tests to become more widely available as well. An effort to open an overdose prevention center in Philadelphia has the support of city officials, but remains stuck in a legal battle and faces opposition from neighbors.

In addition, xylazine is rapidly removed from the body (half-life of 23 to 50 minutes), which may make detection even more difficult. Stimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine have also been combined with xylazine. There are reports of users combining it with “speedballs” (a mixture of an opioid and stimulant) to offset the unintended effects of the mixture. Xylazine is structurally similar to a class of drugs known as phenothiazines. Xylazine also has chemical properties similar to other drugs like clonidine, levamisole and tizanidine and may have similar clinical effects.

Skin wounds due to xylazine injection are often managed with specialized dressings and antibiotics. Some wounds can require treatment with skin grafting or other surgical procedures, and severe cases might result in amputation. Xylazine is available in liquid or powder formulations and can be swallowed, inhaled, smoked, or injected.

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