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New York Doctors Scrambling As Flesh-Rotting ‘Zombie Drug’ Tranq Takes Over Streets

  Doctors in New York City are scrambling to find answers as a a cheap, flesh-rotting horse tranquilizer floods the city’s   illegal drug ma...

 Doctors in New York City are scrambling to find answers as a a cheap, flesh-rotting horse tranquilizer floods the city’s illegal drug market.

Xylazine, called “tranq” on the street, is mass-manufactured in China and has recently proliferated on the streets New York as well as San Francisco and Philadelphia.

The “zombie drug” causes skin lesions that look like flesh is being eaten off, sometimes down to the bone, and can slow a person’s heart and breathing until they stop, leaving users catatonic or dead.

Drug dealers frequently mix Xylazine with fentanyl to prolong the high, creating a potentially deadly cocktail, but “tranq” is often mixed with other drugs like meth and cocaine as well, meaning users often take Xylazine unknowingly.

“Tranq” recently hit the streets of New York with “astonishing” speed, according to law enforcement.

Dr. Paolo Coppola, the board-certified co-founder of Victory Recovery Partners near Oyster Bay on Long Island, said the situation gets much more complicated when tranq is involved.

“The clinical picture becomes much more diabolical, a lot harder to follow — a lot more can go wrong,” Coppola told the New York Post.

Meanwhile, Narcan, the emergency opioid reverse medicine, does not work on “tranq” since xylazine is not an opioid.

“When [an addict] uses a speedball of cocaine and heroin, we can deal with that no problem. You reverse the heroin so they start breathing again and you wait for the cocaine to finish up,” Coppola said.

“Xylazine doesn’t work that way,” the doctor told the Post. “When they come to the emergency room, you fully expect them to wake up when you push the Narcan … but all of a sudden it’s not really working, they’re not waking up.”

Coppola said doctors often have to use different drugs to help patients on “tranq” whose blood pressure or heart rate is sinking. Addicts can also be addicted to Xylazine without knowing it until they try to get clean and the withdrawal leaves them anxious and irritable.

Dr. Steve Salvatore, Victory’s co-founder and president warned that because “tranq” is so cheap and prolongs the high, we are “going to be seeing a lot more of xylazine.”

“That’s why it’s become popular: Now, your high goes from one or two hours to more like four to five hours,” Dr. Steve Salvatore told the Post.

Xylazine has the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) alarmed as well.

The DEA said it has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 states. In 2022, the DEA found xylazine in about 23% of the fentanyl powder and 7% of the fentanyl pills seized by the agency.

In the three and a half years from January 2019 to June 2022, the number of fentanyl deaths each month that involved xylazine spiked from about 2.9% to 10.9% in 20 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in June.

Because Xylazine was only ever intended for animal use, the drug is not a controlled substance federally or in New York. Several cities and states have moved to crack down on the drug, however.

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