Meeting Summary – February 2023: Xylazine and Overdoses: Trends, Concerns, and Recommendations

Jul 26, 2023 | Meeting Summary


Alexander RS, Canver BR, Sue KL, Morford KL. Xylazine and Overdoses: Trends, Concerns, and Recommendations. Am J Public Health. 2022 Aug;112(8):1212-1216. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2022.306881. PMID: 35830662; PMCID: PMC9342814.

Article Summary

Xylazine (pronounced “zye-lah-zeen”) is a drug that is used in veterinary practice to keep animals calm, prevent them from feeling pain, and help them sleep during medical procedures. People find that xylazine has a similar effect—it relaxes them or makes them sleepy, and when mixed with other drugs like heroin and fentanyl, xylazine can make it seem like it makes these other drugs last longer. Xylazine is being found more and more often in the illicit drug supply, meaning that in street drugs and drugs that you don’t get from a doctor or pharmacy, it’s becoming more and more likely that drugs are being contaminated, or mixed with xylazine. Doctors have found that taking too much xylazine can cause people to breathe very slowly or stop breathing altogether. Doctors have also found that people who inject xylazine regularly run the risk of developing sores, blisters, and wounds on their arms and legs. It’s important for the public health system (state and local departments of public health, for example) to act on this knowledge, given that using xylazine can hurt people very badly, and even kill them

Xylazine Article Image

Key Themes

Harm reduction matters to stay safe

Wound care is important

Narcan is not effective against Xylazine

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