GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Law enforcement warned the public Tuesday of an emerging deadly drug threat.
Xylazine is a non-opiate muscle relaxant that has only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for veterinary use. However, Drug Enforcement Administration agents have seen Xylazine-laced fentanyl in 48 states.
“Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures present a high risk of suffering a fatal drug poising,” said Orville Greene, a DEA Agent in the Detroit Field Office. “As both drugs repress the respiratory function. And because Xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone does not reverse its effect.”
Authorities said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon they believe both drugs are a result of two drug cartels from Mexico.
Xylazine, also known as “tranq,” is cheap and often used as a cutting agent.
“We are never going to be able to prosecute our way out of the opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten. “This crisis demands an all-hands-on-deck approach. That includes medical professionals, mental health specialist, social service providers and others. But destruction of the supply lines and accountability for those who manufacture and traffic these poisons is an important part of the solution, especially with this newest twist brought by Xylazine.”