New Xylazine Drug Contributes to Overdoses in Massachusetts
The xylazine drug is a potent sedative and analgesic medication that is commonly used in veterinary medicine to treat horses and other large animals. However, it has become a growing problem in Massachusetts as it is being abused by humans for its strong sedative effects, often by combining it with other substances like opioids. Xylazine abuse has been linked to a number of health and social issues, including addiction, overdose, and crime.
What Is Xylazine?
Xylazine, also known by its brand name Rompun, is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is similar in effect to other drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepines. It works by suppressing the activity of the brain and spinal cord, leading to sedation and pain relief. In veterinary medicine, xylazine is typically used to calm horses and other large animals before surgery or to treat injuries.
Though first introduced in 1962, xylazine has become increasingly popular among drug users in Massachusetts in recent years. Though intended for use in animals, it is easily available, as it can be purchased online or from veterinary supply stores. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to other drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl.
Xylazine is often mixed with other substances, such as cocaine or heroin, to enhance their effects or to stretch the supply. These instances of polydrug abuse are extremely dangerous, heightening the risk of an overdose exponentially in users.
Xylazine Side Effects
One of the most common side effects of xylazine in humans and animals is sedation, which can range from mild drowsiness to complete unconsciousness. It can cause symptoms like disorientation, confusion, and delirium and may even result in hallucinations.
Additional side effects of the xylazine drug include:
- Respiratory depression
- Low blood pressure
- Cardiovascular problems
- Body tremors
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
Xylazine is not approved for use in humans but has recently begun to be combined with other addictive substances to produce an even more intense high. Additionally, many healthcare providers are not familiar with its effects. This means that many people who overdose on xylazine are not receiving the proper medical care, which can lead to serious complications.
Limited knowledge about this substance means it is important to provide education and outreach to individuals who use drugs recreationally. This includes providing information on the dangers of xylazine, as well as the importance of seeking medical care in the event of an overdose. It is also worth considering that someone who elects to abuse such a powerful tranquilizer recreationally, especially in combination with other substances, could be suffering from an addiction.
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