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Government says the U.S. is facing its deadliest drug threat

People whose family members have died from fentanyl overdose stand at a committee meeting on Jan. 19, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. Associated Press/Photo by James Pollard

Government says the U.S. is facing its deadliest drug threat

The Drug Enforcement Agency warned in an alert released Monday that the drug xylazine is making the country’s fentanyl epidemic even deadlier. The agency says xylazine was mixed in with about 25 percent of the fentanyl powder seized last year. Every year, fentanyl and other illicit opioids kill about 70,000 people.

What are the effects of the drug? Xylazine, or tranq, can cause drowsiness and amnesia, as well as slow a person’s breathing and heart rate, and lower blood pressure. While veterinarians use the central nervous system depressant as a tranquilizer, xylazine has not been approved for human use. Drug dealers and users add xylazine to illicit opioids to extend their euphoric effects, but its use is associated with skin ulcers, abscesses, and deadlier overdoses.

Dig deeper: Read Addie Offereins’ report in Compassion on tracking the fentanyl epidemic.

Elias Ferenczy

Elias Ferenczy is a breaking news intern for WORLD. He’s a graduate of WORLD Journalism Institute and Covenant College.

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