Xylazine is in Utah, and is a significant threat says the DEA

Mar 31, 2023, 4:54 PM | Updated: Apr 1, 2023, 4:37 pm

Xylazine, a new substance linked to several deadly overdoses around the country, is appearing in Ut...

A new substance linked to several deadly overdoses around the country is now appearing in Utah, and the DEA says it’s a serious danger. (Photo credit: CNN)

(Photo credit: CNN)

SALT LAKE CITY — Xylazine, a new substance linked to several deadly overdoses around the country, is appearing in Utah. And according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) it’s a serious danger.

Xylazine (ZY-la-zeen) is an animal tranquilizer, its street name is known by the name ‘tranq.’  It’s cheap and easy to access for the Mexican drug cartels that use it.

It largely comes from places like China and India for anywhere between $5 and $20 per kilogram.

“If you were to go onto the internet and do a search for xylazine for sale,” Assistant DEA Special Agent in Charge for Utah, Dustin Gillespie, told KSL. “You’re going to be presented with a bunch of online websites that will sell Xylazine in powder form, liquid form, crystalline form, directly to you.”

When cut with fentanyl it gives users a similar, but longer high than they get from fentanyl alone.

Anne Milgram, Administrator of the U.S. DEA said this xylazine/fentanyl combination is ” the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced.”

Specifically, Gillespie said one thing that makes it so dangerous is that it doesn’t react to the antidote naloxone and it doesn’t show up on Fentanyl testing strips.

In the 2023 Utah legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips for the public.

Consequently, this could lessen the number of fentanyl overdoses in Utah. Xylazine does not show up on those testing strips.

“Xylazine is a completely different substance, with similar effects but it’s a non-opioid sedative, so it won’t show up on those tests,” Special Agent Gillespie said.

Gillespie said they’re seeing overdoses across all walks of life.

“It has no boundaries, and so it may be a teenager in a high school (or younger). Or it might be an elderly patient … an unhappy housewife. It affects everybody.”

Right now, the DEA is only seeing small numbers of fentanyl pills containing xylazine in Utah, but Agent Gillespie said it’s following the same trend fentanyl did before it became an epidemic.

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Xylazine is in Utah, and is a significant threat says the DEA