Drug Alert: Tranq/xylazine found locally

What is Xylazine?

  • Xylazine is a tranquilizer used in veterinary medicine. It has analgesic and muscle relaxant properties.
  • It requires a veterinary licence for purchase and use. Trade names include Rompun® and Anased®.
  • It is not approved for human use by any authorizing association in Canada nor the United States.

Xylazine in the Unregulated Drug Supply:

  • Xylazine use among people who use drugs has been reported in the literature since the early 2000s. It was first identified in the unregulated drug supply in Canada in 2012.
  • There is evidence for both intentional and unintentional use of xylazine. For example, people who use drugs have reported using it to prolong some of the effects of fentanyl.
  • It has also emerged as an increasingly common cutting agent in both Canada and the United States. It is commonly added to opioids on the unregulated market, particularly fentanyl, and has also been identified alongside cocaine and methamphetamine.

Why Is It a Concern?

  • Xylazine can lower heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Combining xylazine with opioids or central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines or alcohol can significantly depress these vital functions, increasing the risk of overdose and death.
  • Because xylazine is sometimes added to opioids as an adulterant, people may be unaware of its presence in the unregulated supply, raising the risk for people who use drugs.
  • For overdoses involving combinations of xylazine and opioids, naloxone can reverse the opioid effects but has no effect on xylazine. This can impact the success of the overdose response. There is no pharmaceutical antidote specifically for xylazine.
  • Frequent xylazine use is reportedly associated with a higher prevalence of skin problems, including abscesses, ulcers and infections (compared with those who do not use xylazine).

For more information please visit: Drug Warnings – Timiskaming Health Unit

Let’s Talk Xylazine – Information for Harm Reduction Workers (CATIE)

About Drug Warnings

Drug warnings advise our community about potential substances that could put individuals at risks or cause harm. They are shared with service and health care providers, community partners, harm reduction sites, and the public to warn that there are dangerous substances in the community that have been associated with increases in overdoses and poisoning.

Staying informed helps our community stay healthy and safe. Timiskaming Health Unit (THU) will share all available information such as the as name, description and effects of the drug.

When a warning is issued, THU will also increase harm reduction messaging and resources, with information on responding to an overdose, tips for safer dug use, the Good Samaritan Law, where to get naloxone, and where to get harm reduction supplies.