Narcan-resistant drug on Michigan streets

An animal tranquilizer is infiltrating the illicit drug market, and unlike opioids, it's resistant to Narcan.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:52 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - An animal tranquilizer is infiltrating the illicit drug market, and unlike opioids, it’s resistant to Narcan.

The sedative xylazine is being laced into drugs like fentanyl, and that deadly cocktail is already on the streets in Michigan.

“This is very concerning,” MSP Sgt. Steven Moore said.

Xylazine is a sedative that’s used on animals.

“It’s not an opioid. Meaning naloxone, also known as Narcan, may not reverse its effects when it’s mixed with it,” Moore said.

This mixture could lead to more deaths from overdose. Moore said even those who survive after taking fentanyl and xylazine might be changed for life.

“People who inject xylazine with repeated exposures can develop severe wounds, including necrosis, literally the rotting of the flesh, which can even lead to amputation,” Moore said.

Moore said fentanyl laced with xylazine is here in the Great Lakes State.

“The Michigan State Police Bridgeport Crime Lab has seen xylazine in samples with fentanyl. So, it is in the area,” Moore said.

He said he believes this is an issue that will only get worse.

“We expect this to continue to be a problem, and continue to see an increase in this. And I think as long as there is a demand for it, there will somehow be a supply,” Moore said. “So it’s very much a problem and a concern to law enforcement, as well as medical personnel that we’re looking into.”

According to the Michigan State Police, about 15 to 20 percent of fentanyl samples statewide contain xylazine.

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