MPD warns that deadly mixture of xylazine becoming a growing threat locally

MEDFORD, Ore. – Xylazine, a non-opiate drug used to sedate animals, has been found nationwide to be laced in fentanyl.

MPD said they’ve seen it here locally for months.

“It’s a concern for law enforcement and a concern for users and the common public,” MPD spokesperson Lt. Rebecca Pietila said.

There’s a growing threat nationwide of the non-opiate drug called Xylazine being mixed with fentanyl, making for a dangerous combination.

The drug is used as a veterinary tranquilizer for dogs, sheep, horses, rats and other animals.

MPD is warning the public about how dangerous it can be.

“Because it’s not an opiate, the reversal agents we use, such as Narcan or naloxone aren’t effective for that,” Pietila said. “So it’s not going to be able to reverse the effects those causing overdose deaths.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said xylazine has been detected in about 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pill seizures.

MPD said in the last few months, it’s shown up here locally.

Tanya Phillips with Jackson County Public Health said fentanyl can be easily mixed making the drug even more dangerous.

“The thing with powder fentanyl, and when it’s illicitly made is that you really see it, it can look like other drugs so it can resemble other street drugs, it can be easily mixed into drugs as well,” she said.

U.S. lawmakers are now looking to classify xylazine as a controlled substance.

According to MPD, they saw a 3,000% increase in fentanyl seizures in 2022.

Now, they’re hoping to educate people about this new deadly threat.

“If you’re a user or have used, be cognizant of this and get help,” Pietila said. “And if you’re interested in experimenting with drugs, it’s not worth it. These are very dangerous and you never know what you’re going to get in the potency could lead to death.”

The DEA said xylazine is not approved for human use.

According to MPD, the drug can typically be found in fentanyl manufactured by criminal organizations.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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