DEA warns of deadly “Tranq” drug mixture in St. Mary’s County

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued a warning to the public regarding a significant increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine – a powerful non-opioid animal sedative. This lethal combination, commonly known as “Tranq”, has been found across the United States, including in St. Mary’s County.

The xylazine and fentanyl drug mixture poses a higher risk of fatal drug poisoning. As xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan®) will not work to reverse its effects. In addition, individuals who inject drug mixtures containing xylazine can develop severe wounds involving necrosis, leading to possible amputation.

Credit: https://www.randlab.com/randlab-xylazine-100-lnjection

“Drug addiction is a serious public health issue. St. Mary’s County residents need to be aware of xylazine and its dangerous effects. If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, please seek treatment through the resources provided by the St. Mary’s County Health Department and community partners before it’s too late,” Sheriff Steve Hall said.

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) strongly encourages individuals who use illicit substances to seek professional help for their substance use disorder. Treatment options are available in the community, and the SMCHD website offers connections to local treatment options. Individuals can also call 301-862-1680 or walk-in Monday-Friday during business hours at the St. Mary’s County Health Hub.

The Health Hub offers the SMCHD Harm Reduction Program (HRP) to help mitigate the harms associated with drug use, such as overdoses, wounds, and infections. The HRP provides infectious disease testing, Narcan, and ways to test drug paraphernalia (such as pill bottles and syringes) for the presence of fentanyl or other substances like xylazine.

“Illicit fentanyl is already a dangerous drug, but when it is combined with xylazine, it becomes even deadlier,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Narcan may help to reverse the fatal breathing problem that fentanyl can cause but it won’t work on xylazine. If you’re using drugs, get help – treatment options are available, and recovery is possible.”

The SMCHD urges St. Mary’s County residents to take this warning seriously and seek help for addiction. The county is not immune to this drug crisis, and the risks associated with the Tranq drug mixture are substantial. It is essential to get help as soon as possible.

For additional information about the SMCHD Harm Reduction Program, visit smchd.org/harmreduction. For more information about programs and resources provided at the St. Mary’s County Health Hub, visit smchd.org/hub.


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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