DEA Warns About New 'Zombie' Drug That Makes Fentanyl Even Deadlier

vial with clear drug solution and a syringe

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is warning about a deadly drug that is being mixed with other illegal narcotics. In a public safety alert, the agency said that drug dealers have been mixing xylazine, an FDA-approved animal sedative and pain reliever, with other drugs and creating something that is even deadlier than fentanyl.

"Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier," DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement. "DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 states. The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine."

Xylazine produces similar effects to other synthetic opioids, but because it is not an opioid, naloxone or Narcan cannot be used to reverse the effects of an overdose. When mixed with fentanyl, it can create a longer-lasting high.

The so-called zombie drug can also cause the skin to rot away and could result in the need to have body parts amputated.

The DEA said the drugs are being illegally imported into the U.S. by Mexican drug cartels.

"These evil drug traffickers, who are always figuring out ways to hurt our kids and our people, have figured out that when you lace xylazine in fentanyl, in heroin or some other drug, the high is even greater," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

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