Xylazine is a sedative/tranquilizer that is only FDA-approved for use in animals within the realms of veterinary medicine. Recently, xylazine has been found in the illicit drug supply across the United States, starting in Puerto Rico before moving to the east coast. Xylazine is an alpha-2 receptor agonist – not an opioid – but it is most frequently found in drug mixtures containing opioids.
As of April 2023, there were 4 confirmed deaths in the Denver-metro area in Colorado during a 14-month surveillance period. Due to the fact that testing for xylazine is not included into many standard drug screening protocols or post-mortem analyses, the true prevalence in Colorado is unknown.
To learn more about xylazine, you can watch our recent lunch and learn on this page or on Vimeo.
Organizations including NIDA, the CDC, and the FDA are studying the effect of xylazine in humans, including the effect it has when used with opioids such as fentanyl. More information can be found on the pages below.
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE): Xylazine
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP): Biden-Harris Administration Designates Fentanyl Combined with Xylazine as an Emerging Threat to the United States
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Xylazine
Food & Drug Administration (FDA): Xylazine
Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): What You Should Know About Xylazine
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA): Public Safety Alert