The opioid crisis in Maryland is taking a dangerous turn as a veterinary drug known as Xylazine is being mixed with street drugs, especially fentanyl, to enhance their effects. Xylazine is an FDA-approved animal tranquilizer, but its presence in illicit drugs is causing grave concern among health officials.

Credit: Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force

Emily Keller, the new Special Secretary of Opioid Response for Governor Wes Moore, warned that Xylazine has made its way into Maryland drugs, often without users’ knowledge. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what is in the illicit drug supply,” said Keller.

Xylazine is more dangerous because opioid-reversing drugs cannot counteract it like Narcan. Moreover, the drug has side effects that give it the nickname “Zombie” drug. It can cause flesh-destroying wounds that can appear anywhere on the body, even down to the bone.

The state of Maryland has formed a Xylazine task force to track how widespread the drug’s presence is and develop a strategy to deal with this new problem. The task force is expected to release a report in the coming weeks.

The FDA has recently announced that it is taking action to restrict the unlawful importation of Xylazine veterinary drugs to prevent its misuse in street drugs. Health officials hope that this action will help reduce the drug mix’s harmful effects.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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