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Community Groups Address Impending Tranq Epidemic in Philly

homeless addict

The city of Philadelphia is seeing the rise of a new drug crisis that is leaving people in zombified and wounded states. There is an emerging Tranq epidemic being seen amongst the streets, one which poses significant and newfound dangers to those who find themselves amid addiction. To combat this, community groups have begun to roll out harm reduction and life-saving efforts to toss a lifeline to those drowning in their substance abuse. Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia takes a look at this horrifying substance, along with the valiant tactics being employed by those seeking to make a positive difference in the city.

What Is Tranq?

Tranq, also known as Xylazine, is a powerful sedative and analgesic medication that is frequently employed in veterinary medicine to immobilize animals for various procedures. Because of its sedative effects, Xylazine was initially created as a veterinary anesthetic, however, some people use it off-label to indulge in recreational drug use. Human abuse of the central nervous system depressant xylazine can have major negative effects on one's health.

Some of the common side effects and symptoms associated with Xylazine abuse include:

  • Profound sedation and drowsiness
  • Slurred speech and impaired coordination
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle weakness and lack of motor control
  • Seizures and convulsions

People who abuse Xylazine put themselves at risk for a variety of dangers, especially given that the drug's potency can have fatal effects if it is not used as prescribed by a doctor. Additionally, there is a significant danger of overdose and mortality associated with the abuse of Xylazine, which is frequently coupled with other drugs like opioids.

The Very Real Dangers of Xylazine

The risk for serious xylazine wounds is a major worry associated with this type of drug abuse. When tranq is administered incorrectly, it might result in necrosis at the site of the injection or on the skin where it comes into contact. These wounds might become infected, which may result in additional health issues and require medical attention. Additionally, frequent injections or long-term Xylazine use also increase the chance of getting such sores.

Individuals are additionally at risk when Tranq is used with drugs such as opiates. When these CNS depressants are combined, the sedative effect can be enhanced, which increases the danger of overdose and causes severe respiratory depression and unconsciousness. Additionally, having Xylazine in the body may make the person resistant to the effects of Narcan (Naloxone), the medication that reverses opioid overdoses.

In opioid overdoses, the sedative effects of Xylazine may interfere with the capacity of Narcan to restore normal breathing and awareness, leaving the sufferer in a serious situation in the absence of prompt assistance. The risky interaction between Tranq and opioids emphasizes the value of campaigns for education and prevention against the rising prevalence of polydrug usage and its potentially lethal effects.

How Tranq in Philadelphia Is Being Addressed

Katie Mowrey and Stephanie Klipp, two committed nurses, have been acting to solve the escalating issue brought on by the alarming Tranq epidemic in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood. In their capacity as volunteer nurses for the nonprofit Savage Sisters Recovery, they have been actively assisting those who have developed a "tranq" dependence. Every day, these caring nurses load up their equipment and leave to help those who have been harmed by the harmful substance. The severity of the issue is highlighted by the descriptions of the effects of Xylazine as, unlike anything they had ever experienced.1

To better the lives of persons struggling with Xylazine misuse, Mowrey and Klipp frequently provide therapy, including wound care, out of the trunk of their automobiles or at the Savage Sisters outpost in the area. Despite the challenges brought on by Xylazine's inclusion in the medicine supply, Sarah Laurel, the executive director and creator of Savage Sisters rehabilitation, and the nurses' dedication have allowed for the creation of nine rehabilitation homes for both men and women.1

These treatment facilities provide a variety of essential services, such as yoga, kickboxing, mindfulness classes, trauma therapy, holistic therapy, and holistic therapy—all of which have been helpful in Sarah's recovery process. Sarah is motivated to support her community because she has personally recovered from heroin addiction and has been homeless where Xylazine abuse is a problem. Sarah is also motivated by the need to act quickly to stop the hazards posed by the contaminated drug supply.

Addiction Recovery At Banyan’s Rehab in Philadelphia

For those in need of intensive and long-term care, our drug rehab in Langhorne, PA is equipped with a variety of services and treatment methods that can help. With several Philadelphia substance abuse programs at our disposal, patients can get the support that they need to overcome the challenges of addiction recovery. No matter the level of care that a person requires, we are committed to giving each of our patients the best and most effective experience possible.

Call Banyan Philadelphia today at 888-280-4763 and learn about the first steps on this life-changing journey.


  1. ABC - Community groups, medical experts work to combat emerging 'tranq' drug crisis

Related Reading

New Xylazine Drug Contributes to Overdoses in Massachusetts

Xylazine: The Emergence of a New Drug

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.