Updated May 11, 2023
Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer used by veterinarians that is sometimes added to recreational drugs to prolong the drug’s effects. It is not approved for use in humans. Xylazine has been found in drugs in Portland and the Pacific Northwest; however, it is not widespread at this time.
Xylazine is most often added to opioids, such as fentanyl, but can also be in other drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine. It can appear as a powder, mixed into pills, or in other forms and cannot be easily identified by appearance. A person who has taken a drug with xylazine may not be aware that the drug has xylazine mixed with it. Other names for xylazine include “tranq” and “tranq dope.”
In addition to causing deeper sedation, xylazine has also been associated with severe skin wounds. These wounds are often at the site of injection, but can be seen far from the site of drug use and may even happen in people who have smoked xylazine.
It is important for individuals and agencies who work with, live with, encounter, or support people who use drugs to be aware of the presence of xylazine in the community so they can understand the associated risks and respond appropriately.