(HealthDay News) — Congressional leaders introduced a bill on Tuesday that would further restrict access to the veterinary drug xylazine, which is now being added to fentanyl powder.
Also known as “tranq,” the drug is meant to be a sedative and muscle relaxer for horses and other large animals and is not approved for human use. But the US Drug Enforcement Administration has warned that it found xylazine in nearly a quarter of the fentanyl powder it seized in 2022.
In addition to depressing breathing and causing overdoses, xylazine can even cause severe, necrotic skin ulcerations that may lead to amputation.
The Combating Illicit Xylazine Act would reclassify the substance as a Schedule III drug, while declaring it as an emerging threat and allowing the DEA to track manufacturing of the drug. Other Schedule III drugs include ketamine and anabolic steroids.
“Drug traffickers are going to great lengths to pad their profits with dangerous drugs like tranq, and we need to empower law enforcement to crack down on its spread in our communities,” Rep. Catherine Cortez Masto said in a news release announcing the bill she cosponsored. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure the DEA and local law enforcement have the tools they need to get xylazine off our streets while protecting its important use as a veterinary tranquilizer.”
Among the other symptoms experienced by people taking xylazine are blurred vision, disorientation, drowsiness, staggering, coma, bradycardia, respiratory depression, low blood pressure, constricted pupils, and high blood sugar.