What is Xylazine?

Published On: June 25, 20213.6 min read712 wordsCategories: Addiction Treatment And Rehab

Xylazine, a substance that’s often combined with opioids – commonly without the user’s knowledge – comes with a number of dangers. Xylazine is becoming increasingly common and the effects are lethal.

Xylazine was developed in Germany in 1962 as a high blood pressure medication. In early studies, human participants showed weakened central nervous systems and the drug was restricted to the treatment of animals. In veterinary practices, Xylazine is used for muscle relaxation, as a sedative or for pain relief.

Recently, Xylazine is becoming an increasingly popular recreational drug. The use of Xylazine by humans started in Puerto Rico and has spread to the continental United States. It’s taken orally, or it can be inhaled or injected. It’s often used to cut heroin and other opioids.

What does Xylazine do to my body?

Because Xylazine is so often combined with other substances, the effects are difficult to isolate. Moreover, it’s tricky to study because it’s not approved for human use, as in it’s not a controlled substance in the United States (except in New York). However, several studies have been published on the effects of Xylazine on humans.

A study published in the Journal of Urban Health found that the most common effect of chronic Xylazine usage was skin ulcerations. Although skin lesions may not sound as severe as the side effects of other drugs, photos included in the study may convince you otherwise.

In addition to skin ulcerations, slowed wound healing, skin infections, drowsiness, slurred speech and high blood sugar are also signs of chronic usage according to the Nevada Opioid Response.

Forensic Science International affirmed that Xylazine has been shown to cause depression of the respiratory system and central nervous system as well as a slow heart rate and low blood pressure. The Journal of Analytical Toxicity noted that Xylazine can cause fainting, comas and inability to regulate body temperature.

What are the consequences of using Xylazine?

It’s clear that Xylazine has a pretty drastic physical toll. Another major side effect is Xylazine overdose. A recent Forbes article noted the increase in popularity of Xylazine, stating that the drug was present in 31 percent of overdoses in Philadelphia in 2019.

It’s worth noting that while Xylazine works like other opioids, having similar effects, it doesn’t respond to Narcan, making Xylazine overdose particularly fatal.

Xylazine is most often combined with illegal drugs and using any illegal substance has consequences that could impact a person’s life for years. Jail time, legal fines and fewer employment opportunities are just the starts. Substance abuse also has the potential to devastate relationships with loved ones and sabotage your mental health.

Are there any good Xylazine uses?

Currently, there are no Xylazine uses that are approved for human consumption. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, clinical trials were attempted for potential pain relief purposes but were ended because of the dangerous side effects.

There are legitimate uses of Xylazine for animals. It is used for sedation, anesthesia and pain relief for large mammals like cattle, horses, sheep, elk, etc. It can make handling and transporting animals easier.

Overcoming struggles with drug use

Here’s the good news: there is increasing awareness around Xylazine’s dangerous effects on humans. Medical authorities have advocated for increased awareness about the drug and pushed for it to be included in toxicity testing. 

Moreover, professionals working in addiction-related fields are now more equipped and prepared to help those struggling with chronic Xylazine usage.

If you are struggling to overcome Xylazine abuse or abuse of any drug for that matter, there is hope for recovery and plenty of support when you’re ready to accept it. A mental health professional can help you to address the root cause of your substance abuse and learn skills to combat temptation and live a life of freedom. Medication-assisted therapy can also help you in recovery from Xylazine.

If you are struggling with substance use and aren’t sure where to start, Freedom Detox can help. Freedom Detox is a certified detox center based in Charlotte, North Carolina where you’ll find the support you’ve been looking for as you heal physically and mentally. Call (800) 475-2312 to learn more and get set up with detox services today.

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