Tranq Dope? What You Should Know About the New ‘Zombifying’ Drug Hitting Streets in California
A horrifying new drug called xylazine — or Tranq Dope — is making its way onto city streets throughout the U.S., raising concerns among officials.
The new combination drug has been linked to overdoses in San Francisco. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, drug enforcement officers have detected xylazine 23 times throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties in the past two fiscal years.
Reports of tranq dope-related overdoses are starting to tick up, especially in California cities. According to the San Francisco chief medical examiner’s officer, authorities linked tranq to four overdose deaths in December and January in that city.
Vice reports that tranq has been most prevalent in the northeastern U.S., with the current epicenter being Philadelphia. However, reports in San Francisco and other California cities paint a worrying picture of a problem that could be spreading.
In November 2022, a Vice investigation found that tranq had spread to 39 states throughout the U.S. A month earlier, the DEA said there was a 112% increase in tranq detections throughout the western portions of the country.
There is also no detox procedure for tranq, so options available to those with substance use disorder — like free rehab in California — aren’t a lot of help.
More than that, rehabs and hospitals don’t have protocols to test for xylazine because it isn’t a controlled substance. Ultimately, it’s up to those affected to seek mental health treatment covered by providers like NYSHIP insurance and GEHA insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tranq Dope
But what is tranq, and how is it different from other illicit drugs that can cause overdoses, like heroin or methamphetamine?
Here’s everything you need to know about tranq or xylazine.
What is Xylazine?
Xylazine is a pharmaceutical that vets use to sedate farm animals like cattle and horses. It has several muscle relaxant and anesthetic properties and is generally used in veterinary care, so it isn’t a controlled substance on its own. However, xylazine is used in the making of tranq.
What is Tranq Dope?
In a nutshell, Tranq Dope is a dangerous combination of xylazine and other illicit narcotics such as fentanyl or heroin. When used by humans, tranq can cause people to blackout for hours and even cause festering wounds that could result in amputation.
What Is Xylazine Used For?
As mentioned earlier, xylazine is an animal tranquilizer generally used in veterinary care. More specifically, veterinarians use it as a sedative, anesthetic, tranquilizer, muscle relaxant and analgesic before animals undergo surgery.
Why Does Xylazine Cause Sores?
The use of xylazine can result in sores and festering wounds, primarily because of its vasoconstricting effects on blood vessels. This effect causes skin ulcers and soft-tissue infections that can quickly escalate to horrifying “zombification” of healthy tissue.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Xylazine?
Generally, xylazine withdrawal can cause effects like anxiety, irritability and a general feeling on unease. Physical effects can include high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. Additionally, whatever other substance an illicit drug maker cuts with xylazine can cause its own withdrawal effecmaits.
Is Xylazine a Controlled Substance?
Currently, xylazine is not a controlled substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has restricted xylazine to veterinary use only.
Is Xylazine a Benzodiazepine
No, xylazine is not a benzodiazepine. However, the illicit drug tranq generally includes xylazine in combination with other substances. The risk of adverse effects of xylazine can increase significantly when tranq or xylazine is used in combination with benzodiazepines or alcohol.
Can Narcan Help with Xylazine?
No, Naloxone or Narcan won’t reverse the effects of xylazine because xylazine is not an opioid. Because of that, Narcan isn’t an effective treatment for xylazine overdoses, though it could help with opioid-related side effects if the tranq mixture includes an opiate.