FDA Takes Action To Restrict Unlawful Import Of Animal Tranquilizer 'Tranq' Or ''Zombie Drug'

  • The FDA issued an "import alert" about the animal tranquilizer xylazine, also called "tranq," "tranq dope," and "zombie drug." 
  • The notice allows agents to seize shipments of xylazine and "unapproved finished drug products" containing it without physically examining the shipments. 
  • The FDA said it will scrutinize incoming xylazine shipments to ensure they are "properly labeled, not adulterated, and for legitimate veterinary use." 
  • Xylazine, a tranquilizer used on large animals, is not approved for human consumption in the U.S., but so far, tranq dope has reportedly spread to at least 39 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. 
  • Xylazine can depress breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature to critical levels. 
  • Additionally, people who inject drugs containing xylazine can develop severe skin wounds and patches of dead and rotting tissue that easily become infected.
  • These wounds can develop in areas of the body away from the injection site.
  • The chemical xylazine has increasingly been found in illicit drugs such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other drugs and has increasingly been detected in overdose deaths.
  • Xylazine is not an opioid, and it's often mixed with other drugs.
  • It has been identified as a contaminant found in combination with opioids such as illicit fentanyl and other illicit products that contain stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. 
  • Xylazine is typically sold as a liquid when used for veterinary purposes. 
  • However, according to some reports, several online vendors sell powder forms of xylazine. One China-based seller reportedly said xylazine had become a "hot" product among Americans in 2021.
  • An October Drug Enforcement Administration report found that a kilogram of xylazine powder can be bought from Chinese suppliers from $6-$20 per kilogram. 
  • People who use illicit drugs may not be aware of the presence of xylazine.
  • Photo by Diamond Rehab Thailand via Pixaby
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