May 12, 2023


Fentanyl was Dangerous Before, It's More Dangerous Now by Amy Bedard

Difficult to detect and test for, Xylazine is making its way through the Northeast and needs to be talked about. Xylazine is a tranquilizer used for veterinary purposes and is not approved for human use. It is typically mixed with fentanyl, and most of the time the person who used doesn’t even know the Xylazine is there. Samples tested in Pennsylvania in 2021 showed that Xylazine was present in 90% of seized drugs. When consumed with Fentanyl the user experiences a heroin-like high that extends the effects of Fentanyl. This can lead to multiple problems – since Fentanyl is an opioid the effects can be reverse with the use of Narcan, but because Xylazine is not an opioid Narcan is not effective, and a person can still be overdosing from Xylazine. Another problem is, because the effects of Xylazine are due to being a depressant, a person is likely to be comatose and unresponsive to pain or discomfort making it more likely for someone to sit out in the cold too long or sit in a position that their airway is obstructed.

Xylazine is consumed in different ways but is typically injected with Fentanyl. When a person injects Xylazine it can create a wound at the injection site, usually requiring wound care. Then, as the person begins to experience withdrawals waiting for care they leave against medical advice because the withdrawal symptoms from Xylazine are so painful that what is typically used for withdrawal symptoms from opioids does not work. Due to this, a person is more likely to use Xylazine again just to stop the withdrawals, and leave their wound untreated, which can result in amputation if not cared for properly.

Xylazine is becoming serious, and while Fentanyl was dangerous before, it’s more dangerous now with the presence of Xylazine. If you suspect an overdose, it is still recommended to use Narcan – if Xylazine is in their system they may not wake up, so ensure their airway is not constricted from how they are sitting, and supplement with oxygen if you can. Also, call 911 – the Good Samaritan Law protects a person from:

• Arrest and prosecution for most non-violent crimes, including all drug crimes;
• Revocations of bail, probation, supervised community confinement, community confinement monitoring, deferred disposition, and administrative release for most non-violent crimes, including for all drug crimes;
• Arrest on outstanding warrants for most non-violent crimes, including for all drug crimes.

For more information about Xylazine visit: Xylazine

For more information about the Good Samaritan Law visit: Know Your Options - About Maine's Good Samaritan Law

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