October 20, 2020
Xylazine: A Toxic Adulterant Found in Illicit Street Drugs
Xylazine was discovered as an antihypertensive agent in 1962 by Farbenfabriken Bayer in Germany. Due to its hazardous side effects, including sedation, hypotension and bradycardia, it was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use. The FDA did however approve it for veterinary use, and it is now used as an animal tranquilizer and a sedative, analgesic and muscle relaxant. It may be sold under the trade names Rompun®, Anased®, Sedazine®, and Chanazine®. Xylazine is not a controlled substance in the United States and only requires a veterinary prescription to obtain. It has emerged as an adulterating agent in many illicit drug products, including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and combinations of these substances. Xylazine can be used as a drug of abuse alone and as a drug for attempted sexual assault or poisoning. Xylazine is referred to as “Tranq Dope” on the street in the United States or “Anestecia de Caballo” in Puerto Rico. The drug has been implicated as a cause, or contributing cause, of death in several cases both alone and in combination with other drugs.