Xylazine, the drug that zombies America

2023-06-21 15:00:00

NEWS IN A NUTSHELL. Biden calls it “the deadliest drug to ever threaten the United States.” Xylazine increases the human disaster caused by the opioid crisis tenfold.

By Léo Rougagnou The American senator, Charles Schumer, warned on March 26 against the ravages caused by xylazine. © Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutters/SIPA / SIPA / Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutters

“It’s hard, but what do you want to do when you’re addicted? coward Martin, 45, addicted to opioids, to AFP. Xylazine, a sedative for animals, is gaining more and more space in the drug landscape in the United States. The product accompanies another substance, fentanyl, to form the “tranq” cocktail. It can cause horrible wounds on the skin and lead to overdoses.

Easy to access

The American Medicines Agency (FDA) does not authorize its use in a human being. Yet it has penetrated the US illegal drug market. It was designated an “emerging threat” by the White House last April.

READ ALSOOxycodone: what is happening with this opiate in France? The product is easily found on the Internet. Regularly coupled with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin, xylazine has seen an increase in the number of fatal overdoses in recent years. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the figure has risen from 260 deaths in 2018 to 3,480 in 2021 in the United States.

Consequences on the body

“A lot of times people say little bruises or black marks appear and then it’s like the tissue is dying in the affected area,” Jazmyna Fanini, a nurse at St Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, told AFP. . The clinic is in constant contact with people affected by overdose problems.

Inside their van, the nurses navigate the streets of the Bronx to bring medical equipment, food or clean syringes. The skin of the patients presents many wounds, sometimes deep. “Injuries can escalate to the bone. Sometimes people need an amputation or a skin graft,” she concludes.

A complicated situation

New York City and city associations are going all out on naloxone. A nasal spray that serves as an antidote for fentanyl overdose. Xylazine, which slows heart rate and breathing, complicates the situation. The product does not have federal “controlled substance” status like hard drugs, making it difficult for investigators, according to New York City Narcotics Special Prosecutor Bridget Brennan. “We can keep an eye on it. But even if we found a large amount of it, we couldn’t sue someone for it” and therefore “not trace it to the source”, she explains.

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