Xylazine Exposure Cases to America’s Poison Centers on the Rise

Image of a syringe and pills containing xylazine.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recently designated xylazine combined with fentanyl as an emerging threat to the United States. This combination is sometimes referred to by the slang term, “Tranq.” Xylazine is a non-opioid tranquilizer approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for veterinary use only. There has been a steady increase in this combination called Tranq. being sold illegally in the United States, which may lead to more severe complications from overdose.

The introduction of this opioid has played a significant role in the country’s crisis and the increase in cases and overdose deaths seen across the USA. Similar to other agencies, U.S. Poison Centers are documenting an increasing number of overdose cases. In 2022, U.S. Poison Centers documented the largest annual number of cases involving xylazine noting a 173% increase in cases compared to 2019. This trend of increased exposure continues in 2023. During the first 3 months of 2023, Poison Centers have documented four times the number of cases compared to the same period in 2022.

Poison Centers offer the following precautions to protect against poisoning.

  • Naloxone is safe to administer to people experiencing an overdose of Tranq. While it will not completely reverse the dangerous effects, it may help by reversing the effects of fentanyl or other opioids involved.
  • Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) to reach your local poison center if you suspect someone has been exposed to Tranq, this dangerous combination.
  • Call 911 immediately if an individual is unconscious, unable to breathe, or seizing.

For additional online support and poisoning prevention resources, visit PoisonHelp.org.