The White House recently unveiled a new plan to address the growing presence of xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer, in the country’s illicit drug supply.
In recent years, xylazine, which is commonly known as “tranq,” has helped to accelerate the already-deadly U.S. drug crisis. The drug is increasingly being mixed into illicit opioids like fentanyl, contributing to overdose spikes across the country. Since xylazine is not an opioid, it does not respond to naloxone, the medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. While a significant amount of xylazine is known to suppress breathing and cause unconsciousness, it has no antidote.
The plan relies on six pillars, including testing, research, data collection, disrupting the xylazine supply, and developing evidence-based treatment and harm reduction practices. Additionally, Gupta said, the federal government will “explore” adding xylazine to the list of medications scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow law enforcement to more aggressively prosecute xylazine importation and distribution for non-veterinary purposes.