Fentanyl-xylazine mix labeled an 'emerging threat'

The Biden administration designated fentanyl-xylazine combinations as an "emerging threat" April 12.  

It is the first time the Office of National Drug Control Policy has given a substance this designation, Rahul Gupta, MD, the office's director, said during a White House press briefing. 

Deaths involving non-opiate xylazine "increased by 1,127 percent in the South, 750 percent in the West, more than 500 percent in the Midwest and more than 100 percent in the Northeast," according to the briefing. 

The mix is also known as "tranq" because the second drug is an animal tranquilizer, and physicians have reported struggles in treating patients who take the laced opioid because naloxone — a popular drug used to reverse opioid overdoses that recently was granted over-the-counter status — is ineffective against fentanyl-xylazine. 

Following the emerging threat declaration, the administration said it is working on a "whole-of-government response that includes evidence-based prevention, treatment and supply reduction."

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