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Tipsheet

DEA Warns Fentanyl Is Now Being Mixed With a Flesh-Eating Drug

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office via AP

The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a new warning about about the “widespread threat” of fentanyl mixed with a flesh-eating drug that has been seized in a majority of U.S. states. 

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Authorities caution that there’s been a “sharp increase” in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine, which is only approved for veterinary use. 

Also known as “Tranq,” xylazine “is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. 

Since the drug is not an opioid, Narcan is not effective in reversing its effects, DEA said. 

“People who inject drug mixtures containing xylazine also can develop severe wounds, including necrosis—the rotting of human tissue—that may lead to amputation,” the statement warned about the drug mixture, which increases the risk for users of becoming fatally poisoned.  

Milgram said DEA has seized the drug mixture in 48 states so far. “The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine,” she explained. 

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The DEA's warning comes after House Republicans wrote to Milgram and Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller about the government's "wholly inadequate" response to the drug mixture so far, asking the agencies to recognize xylazine as "the threat that it is."

"The fentanyl crisis has already inflicted significant damage on our treatment clinics and programs, public health agencies, and our entire medical system," GOP Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Kat Cammack of Florida, and August Plfuger of Texas wrote. "The addition of yet another highly toxic and addictive substance to the illicit drug supply will only further escalate this crisis. It is of the utmost importance that all relevant agencies mount an active and energetic response to this emerging threat."

They continue: “Xylazine must be recognized as the threat it is and be scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These are critical actions the Biden Administration must take to effectively curb the misuse and abuse of xylazine."

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