New Drug Emerging in Central Louisiana

Officials warn that a new emerging drug has been located in the central Louisiana area, including Natchitoches Parish. Last month, officials discovered pills disguised as Oxycodone that contained fentanyl and xylazine. Xylazine-laced fentanyl has been found in 48 states, creating what experts call the “deadliest drug” in the U.S., which results in side effects like necrosis, amnesia, blurred vision and death.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued warnings about the widespread threat of fentanyl mixed with xylazine, a powerful sedative approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in animals. The DEA confiscated fentanyl-and-xylazine mixtures from 48 out of 50 states, and in 2022, about 22% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills the DEA seized were laced with xylazine.
Xylazine, also known as “tranq,” is a veterinary tranquilizer and central nervous system depressant that can cause slow breathing, amnesia and drowsiness—and is not approved for use in humans. The DEA alert states the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco Cartel’s chemicals, which are mainly sourced from China, are primarily responsible for most of the fentanyl trafficked in the U.S. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, not much data is available on xylazine-related deaths, but overdose deaths linked to xylazine have the largest impact on the Northeast. In November 2022, the FDA issued an alert warning healthcare professionals about xylazine being mixed with opioids like fentanyl and heroin and the risks to patients exposed to xylazine. “Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in the alert.
Repeated use is associated with abscesses, ulcers and other related complications, research found. Common side effects include hypotension, blurred vision, high blood sugar, impaired judgment, coma, slurred speech, disorientation, drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, sedation, respiratory depression and slow heart rate.
Continued use can cause necrosis (the rotting of human skin), which can lead to amputation.
Xylazine is frequently mixed with opioids, the NIDA states that opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone should be used during a suspected xylazine overdose. However, because xylazine isn’t an opioid, naloxone may not reverse the effects of the drug.
Because of this, some experts are afraid the increased presence of xylazine in the illegal drug supply may weaken naloxone’s effectiveness.
It is extremely important that members of the public do not consume, purchase prescription medications from persons other than licensed pharmacists, or licensed physician to ensure the medications are authentic.

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