Be aware of new deadly drug mix containing fentanyl, xylazine

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The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is using a recent incident with a State Trooper as a warning for residents who could come into contact with a deadly drug mix becoming widely available around the state.

Drug traffickers are more commonly mixing fentanyl and xylazine, a powerful sedative approved for veterinary use in the U.S. Also called Tranq, xylazine can be found in liquid or powdered forms and can be injected, snorted, smoked or swallowed. It can be found mixed with other drugs including cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

“One of the most alarming issues with the increased use of xylazine and fentanyl is the fact that xylazine is not an opioid,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor in a statement. “This means naloxone (Narcan) will not reverse its effects, placing users at a higher risk of suffering a fatal drug poisoning.”

Naloxone is still recommended for anyone who might be suffering from a drug overdose.

Injecting drug mixtures containing xylazine can cause the user to develop severe, rotting wounds that can lead to amputation.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 107,735 Americans died between August 2021 and August 2022 from drug poisonings. Of those, 66% involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

“Not only is this affecting citizens across the nation, this rise is also a cause for concern regarding the well-being of our law enforcement and first responders,” Taylor said. “Just recently ALEA Senior Trooper Charles May came in contact with an individual who was exposed to fentanyl mixed with xylazine and has suffered health-related issues since the incident occurred.”

May, who is assigned to ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division, was in the process of transporting a subject to the Macon County Jail on May 3 when the person became ill. The subject was given Narcan and transported to East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Shortly after the subject was given Narcan, May fell ill and was taken to the same hospital for treatment. Taylor said may has been suffering from health-related issues since that incident.

Additional information regarding the widespread threat of fentanyl mixed with xylazine can be found through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration right here.

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