• Sat. May 20th, 2023

Los Angeles officials monitoring rising use of flesh-rotting ‘zombie drug’ nicknamed ‘tranq’

WARNING: Confronting images

Los Angeles officials are sounding the alarm over the “concerning” spread of a “zombie drug” that can have gruesome effects on addicts including eating away at their flesh.

Street drug “tranq” — also known as the animal tranquilliser xylazine — can lead to horrifying results when mixed with other illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

LA authorities are in a race to track it as its use rapidly rises. It can lead to skin and muscle rotting away, according to reports.

“It’s really gruesomely disfiguring people,” Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent Bill Bodner told local LA TV station KTLA.

“It’s much more likely to stop someone from breathing and the things that come along with xylazine, it’s a vasoconstrictor. So when you’re injecting it, it’s actually reducing the blood circulation.”

The LA County Sheriff’s Office started a program that would track how common the dangerous substance — which is not meant for humans — is, reports the New York Post.

It only became a priority for authorities recently because it isn’t an illegal drug, the local outlet reported.

The program began in mid-April with crime lab analysts marking when preliminary signs of xylazine were detected in seized drugs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It’s expected to run for a month before next steps are mulled.

“In the greater Los Angeles area, we are seeing xylazine as an additive within fake fentanyl pills,” DEA LA Field Division spokesman Nicole Nishida told the newspaper.

“While the numbers are relatively low in our community compared to elsewhere in the United States, the presence of xylazine is now becoming more frequent and the trend is concerning.”

Addiction expert Cary Quashen said he’s “never seen anything like what we’re dealing with right now”.

“We had a woman come in and her sister had passed away from a fentanyl overdose,” Mr Quashen told KTLA.

“But not only was it a fentanyl overdose (but) her skin was starting to rot, the muscles on her leg and her arm. So that’s a sure sign of xylazine.”

Los Angeles isn’t the only place dealing with the horrifying substance.

The DEA issued an urgent public safety warning in March that xylazine is being used as a cheap cutting agent for fentanyl and has reached 48 states.

In New York, the deadly “zombie drug” has been tied to dozens of deaths, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at the end of March.

This story appeared in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission.

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