U.S. DEA warns of deadly drug mixture: Fentanyl and Xylazine

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:36 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The synthetic opioid Fentanyl has quickly become a threat in South Dakota as it has in the rest of the nation. Now, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration is saying that the already-dangerous drug is being mixed with another to make it even more deadly. The drug Xylazine has now been found mixed with Fentanyl in 48 states. Xylazine increases the risk of fatal drug poisoning because, unlike Fentanyl, it’s not an opioid, and Naloxone, commonly called “Narcan”, cannot treat it. law enforcement and prevention centers are issuing warnings to the public.

Xylazine was approved for veterinary use only by the Federal and Drug Administration. Xylazine is a sedative and it’s extremely dangerous to humans on its own. Now, the drug has been found in mixtures with Fentanyl around the country and fentanyl alone has already been seen as a crisis in the United States.

“Not only is Fentanyl scary, but now we look at Xylazine, which does not show up on a fentanyl strip and oftentimes does not respond if someone is using Narcan,” said the director of Prairie View Prevention, Darcy Jensen. “So adding two more variables makes it more dangerous and deadly.”

Since the drug mixture is difficult to trace, there’s no telling when or how quickly it could affect communities in South Dakota as captain of the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, Josh Phillips, explains.

“As of right now, we don’t have any confirmed cases, but that doesn’t mean it’s not here,” said the captain. “It might take a little bit for it to get here, but we’re preparing for that. We hope it never does, but it’s looking like it will eventually creep up this way.”

Without Fentanyl, Xylazine on its own has some horrible side effects as well.

“If you’re taking any drugs and they’re not from a pharmacy, especially this drug in particular, there are serious consequences,” said Phillips. “There are some long-lasting, irreversible effects. It eats at your skin, you can have amputations. It is a very nasty drug.”

Right now, the best prevention measures are simply to bring awareness to the problem and to have conversations about it.

“I think it’s just important whether it’s the parent or the school or a concerned friend; if you think something’s going on, speak up,” Jensen explained. “At that point, that person is still with us and we have a chance to make a change. If we wait until there’s been an overdose, we know that sometimes people recover from overdoses, but sometimes they don’t. Make the call, have that conversation because, at this point, there’s still hope for a future.”

There are some potential drugs that can combat the effects of Xylazine, but they aren’t as widely available as Narcan.