(888) 448-0302 Talk to a recovery specialist 24/7

Choosing recovery close to home means your support system is just a few miles away.

  • 100% Confidential
  • Available 24/7
  • No Pressure to Commit
  • Multiple Financial Options Available
Call (888) 448-0302

We're Here To Help 24/7

Xylazine in Las Vegas

by Will Long

March 30, 2023
plate of xylazine powder

As Xylazine Overdoses Trend, Las Vegas Police Remain Vigilant

A concerning and deadly trend is spreading across the United States, and Las Vegas is no exception. People often refer to Xylazine as “tranq,” “zombie dust drug,” or simply the “zombie drug.” Primarily, it serves as a veterinary tranquilizer, but is frequently mixed with other drugs such as heroin or fentanyl. This dangerous mix poses a grave threat to individuals who may unknowingly ingest it, and it has become a cause for alarm in the Las Vegas community. Those who buy xylazine are in danger.

“If somebody takes a drug, and it ends up being laced with xylazine, the chance of death is very high,” said Local health officer Guy Miller. “It’s obviously going to matter on the amount, how potent, how much xylazine was in that, whatever drug it was laced in, that will play an effect. But overall, xylazine is not something you want to play around with.”​

FDA Restricts Xylazine Imports

In response to growing concerns over the use and distribution of xylazine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently placed new restrictions on the import of the drug. Authorities can now halt shipments of xylazine and the ingredients used in its production to ensure they are intended for legitimate veterinary use. This development comes as health officials in California have detected the presence of xylazine in several recent overdose cases​.

What is Xylazine?

The FDA has approved xylazine for use in veterinary medicine only. Veterinarians commonly use it as an animal tranquilizer, muscle relaxant, and pain reliever. They can administer xylazine to various types of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and deer, and its effects usually last up to four hours. How much is xylazine? On the black market, xylazine cost varies widely but generally aligns with the price of fentanyl.

Xylazine may be sold under a variety of brand names, including:

  • Rompun
  • Anased
  • Sedazine
  • Chanazine

What Are the Potential Risks of Using Xylazine in Humans?

Veterinarians commonly use the drug to sedate large animals, such as horses. However, its effects on humans can be devastating. Veterinarians often use it together with another drug called ketamine to perform medical procedures on animals safely.

While xylazine is helpful in treating animals, it has unfortunately become a drug of abuse among people, especially in the United States and Puerto Rico. Some people use it as a cutting agent for illegal drugs like heroin.

The drug can lead to health problems, inducing skin sores and infections at the site of injection. Researchers originally discovered Xylazine in the 1960s as a drug capable of lowering blood pressure. However, they found that it had some serious side effects, such as causing a dangerous drop in blood pressure and heart rate. They never approved it for use in humans.

Click here to read more about xylazine.

What Are the Challenges of Fighting Xylazine?

One of the challenges of xylazine is that it does not have a distinct taste, smell, or texture, making it difficult for individuals to detect its presence in other substances. The drug’s side effects are similar to those of an opioid overdose but cannot be reversed by common overdose treatments such as Narcan. Individuals who use xylazine can develop severe skin wounds and patches of dead and rotting tissue that can easily become infected. If left untreated, these conditions can result in amputation​.

Xylazine and Overdose Deaths

The year 2021 saw a new and devastating precedent in drug overdose deaths, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that more than 107,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses. This alarming statistic is equivalent to approximately one death every five minutes. The rise in exposure to xylazine for sale, an animal tranquilizer, has further exacerbated this tragic situation.

The presence of xylazine in drug overdose deaths has significantly increased from 2015 to 2020, rising from 0.36% to 6.7%. The CDC reports that the northeast region of the United States experienced the highest impact from xylazine-involved deaths in 2019, with that region accounting for 67% of such deaths. The city of Philadelphia, where xylazine was reportedly first detected in the U.S., experienced the highest rate of xylazine-related overdose deaths at 25.8%. Maryland and Connecticut followed, with 19.3% and 10.2% of drug overdose deaths involving xylazine, respectively.

Vigilance Among Las Vegas Law Enforcement

The narcotics division in North Las Vegas has reported that they haven’t observed any noticeable use of xylazine in the area. Additionally, the Clark County Coroner’s Office hasn’t recorded any deaths related to the drug in the past six months. Nevertheless, local authorities are keeping a vigilant eye out for the presence of xylazine in the community. Routine toxicology screens do not detect xylazine, but test strips for the drug are currently in development.

Southern Nevada Health District Issues Its Own Warning

The Southern Nevada Health District has issued a public warning about the dangers of xylazine. The health officials particularly warned about the severe health risks posed by mixing xylazine with synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The presence of xylazine in Nevada remains relatively low, with only one registered overdose death since 2020. The Health District has been enhancing its surveillance capabilities to better track new drug trends and respond accordingly.

In March, the DEA announced a public safety alert about xylazine, revealing that they had found the substance mixed with fentanyl in 48 out of 50 states. The DEA found xylazine in about 23% of seized fentanyl powder and 7% of confiscated fentanyl pills in 2022.

In response, the Biden administration identified the combination of fentanyl and xylazine as a growing national threat. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada then took legislative action, introducing the Combatting Illicit Xylazine Act in the U.S. Senate in April 2023.

The Health District underscored the fact that people often unknowingly consume fentanyl and xylazine powder, which typically lace other drugs. From August 2021 to August 2022, nearly 108,000 drug overdose deaths took place in the U.S., with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl involved in 70% of those. While Narcan (naloxone) can usually reverse fentanyl overdoses, it does not work against xylazine.

Choose Recovery Over Addiction

The rise of xylazine, the “zombie drug,” serves as a sobering reminder of the ever-present dangers of substance use and addiction. At Landmark Recovery, we are committed to providing individuals with the support and resources needed to overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, we encourage you to take a courageous step toward recovery.

Call us today at (725) 217-9910 to speak with a dedicated admissions specialist at Landmark Recovery of Las Vegas to learn more about how we can help you choose recovery over addiction.

recovery specialist available 24 hours a day at landmark recovery

Choose Recovery Over Addiction

We're here 24/7 to help you get the care you need to live life on your terms, without drugs or alcohol. Talk to our recovery specialists today and learn about our integrated treatment programs.

About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.