SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Sarasota law enforcement officials spoke Wednesday to warn residents about the drug xylazine.
Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer known by street names “tranq”, “tranq dope” and “zombie drug.” The drug has been appearing increasingly across the U.S. prompting the DEA to issue an alert warning Americans of fentanyl laced with xylazine.
The sedative drug is not an opioid, meaning overdose-reversal medications like Narcan won’t treat a xylazine overdose. It could make potentially deadly drugs like fentanyl or heroin even deadlier, if used together.
The DEA said xylazine-fentanyl mixtures have been seized in almost every state.
“Sarasota has the third largest increase in xylazine deaths in the state,” Moody said. “All of these drugs are in the drug supply right now. Those in this county and in this area could take illicit substances that contain xylazine and they may not even know it. These drugs are in the system right now.”
Lab reports indicate nearly a quarter of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized contained xylazine.
Xylazine earned the nickname “zombie drug” from a concerning side effect: necrotic wounds that produce scaly, dead tissue. If left untreated, the affected limbs may have to be amputated.
“People who use these drugs are developing rotting skin lesions. Their limbs are rotting away from the injection of these substances. Moody said. “So seeking a high, they are literally risking life and limb.”
“I’m urging everyone to never use illicit drugs, just one pill or one use can kill.” Moody said in March.
Moody was joined by State Attorney Ed Brodsky and FDLE Special Agent in Charge Eli Lawson, as well as Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman and Sarasota Police Chief Rex Troche.
The Attorney General emphasized the importance of seeking help if suffering from addiction.
“You may have had an addiction in the past and put off getting help, but it has never been more important. The mixture of fentanyl and now xylazine in more traditional illicit substances has never been more prevalent. If you are struggling, you can go to treatmentatlas.org and put in information that will guide you to where you can get help,” said Moody.