Several congressmen in the House and Senate introduced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday that seeks to "prohibit certain uses of xylazine," a veterinary drug that when mixed with fentanyl and other chemicals, generates a potentially deadly drug called Tranq (also known as a zombie drug).
Senators pushing the bill include Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and others. In the House, the legislation is supported by: Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), August Pfluger (R-Texas), among others.
Xylazine, a drug for animals
Xylazine is readily available to the public, as it is approved for use in large animals as a sedative and analgesic drug. However, it is also being used by drug traffickers to sell and mix with other illicit substances. Cortez Masto said:
Drug traffickers are doing everything they can to increase their profits with dangerous drugs like tranquilizers, and we must empower law enforcement to crack down on their spread in our communities.
Human consumption of the animal sedative is considered potentially fatal. Among its side effects - when mixed with other drugs - are ulcers (raw wounds) that occur in various parts of the body and can lead to the loss of limbs.
The legislation introduced by the congressmen would include xylazine as a Schedule III controlled substance (on a five-level scale). This means that it has "moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence." The law would also allow the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to track the manufacture of the component and thereby prevent it from being diverted to the illicit market.
The DEA already issued an alert earlier this month and noted that it found the animal sedative in about 23% of the fentanyl powder seized and 7% of the pills containing the opioid last year. Cortez Masto stated:
This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the DEA and local law enforcement have the tools they need to get xylazine off our streets while protecting its important use as a veterinary tranquilizer.
FDA Restricted Xylazine Imports
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that it would restrict imports of xylazine. This move was taken as a warning that shipments of the animal tranquilizer will face increased FDA scrutiny.
One of the greatest dangers of drugs mixed with xylazine is that since it is not an opioid, it is resistant to naloxone, the drug used to reverse overdose of these substances.