Last week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody urged congressional leadership to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act from U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif.
This bill would provide critical measures to combat the widespread illicit use and trafficking of xylazine and help prevent xylazine-related deaths. Moody’s call on Congress follows a surge in overdose deaths nationwide related to xylazine, a potent veterinary medication that is being widely mixed with illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, and is easily obtainable online. Over the past few months, multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, have issued public alerts about the dangers of xylazine.
“Xylazine burst onto the illicit substances scene this year exacerbating the worst overdose crisis we have ever seen. This flesh-eating zombie drug is being combined with extremely deadly fentanyl and for months we have been fighting to educate the public about its dangers. I urge all members of Congress to support the important Combatting Illicit Xylazine Act,” Moody said.
Xylazine is only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a veterinary medicine used to sedate and relieve pain in large animals. In humans, xylazine is known to depress breathing and heart rate, lower blood pressure, and cause unconsciousness, necrosis and even death. Xylazine is not an opioid; thus, existing medications like naloxone are not effective in reversing the drug’s effects even if used with opioids.
According to DEA, a dramatic increase in xylazine-related overdose deaths across the U.S. occurred between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 1,127 percent in the Southern region, 750 percent in the Western region, 516 percent in the Mideast region and 103 percent in the Northeast region. Additionally, in 2022, approximately 23 percent of fentanyl powder and 7 percent of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Attorney Moody urged lawmakers to pass the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act. The bill federally schedules the dangerous drug and allows DEA to track manufacturing and sales of xylazine to ensure it is not diverted, among other measures.
Moody began warning about the dangers and prominence of xylazine in March.
In addition to Moody, the attorneys general of the following states and territories signed the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
U.S. Reps. Aaron Bean, R-Fla., and Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., are co-sponosring Panetta’s bill in the House.
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