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The insidious “zombie drug” continues to ravage major American cities

The insidious “zombie drug” continues to wreak havoc in major American cities


Xylazine, a substance that can “rot” skin, has started hitting the black market in several major US cities, worrying many medical professionals. 

This drug, used legally as a sedative in veterinary medicine, has been integrated into the manufacture of several drugs such as heroin. Recently, it was discovered in fentanyl and several other substances like cocaine and methamphetamines. Often, consumers are unaware that it is present, which increases the risks to their health.

Xylazine, or “tranq”, is particularly dangerous since it does not react to naloxone, a treatment that reduces the symptoms of an opioid overdose. 

It causes a slowing of the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Its users also develop skin infections that can lead to amputation if left untreated.

Several addicts have claimed that tranq has had a devastating effect on their health.

“I wake up in the morning crying because my arms are dying,” explained Tracey McCann, a Philadelphia consumer interviewed by the New York Times. The 39-year-old discovered sores near her injection sites last month.

“Tranq turns people into zombies,” Sam, a 28-year-old drug addict, told Sky City News. I had never had sores before. It started nine months ago. Now I have holes in my legs and feet.”

Nearly 90% of illicit substances tested in Philadelphia contained xylazine , according to city data. In New York, it was found in 25% of samples, according to a report published in 2022.

Hospital staff do not usually test patients for this substance, since it not intended for humans.

The Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction issued an alert in 2022 regarding the presence of xylazine in certain unregulated drugs. It has been present on the black market in the country since 2012. 

Several community stakeholders in Montreal say that it is only a matter of time before the substance invades the black market of metropolis.

Based on information from the New York Post.

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