Tranq dope, the street drug linked to severe skin wounds and amputations, has spread to at least 48 states, the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a public safety alert issued Monday.
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The DEA said there’s been a “sharp increase” in the trafficking of tranq, which is usually a combination of fentanyl and the animal traquilizer xylazine. Xylazine is not approved for human use in the U.S. but it is not a federally scheduled drug.
The agency said it has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states and that last year, 23 percent of fentanyl powder and 7 percent of fentanyl pills seized contained xylazine. Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, previously told CNN that tranq is in all 50 states.
“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” said DEA Administrator Ann Milgram in the alert, which noted people who inject tranq “can develop severe wounds, including necrosis—the rotting of human tissue—that may lead to amputation.”
This is the DEA’s first public safety alert about tranq, following up on a report issued in October. It comes as government agencies and health officials are ramping up their response to the influx of tranq in the drug supply.
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