HAMPTON ROADS – The Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a public safety alert about the combination of Xylazine with fentanyl that is turning up in pills and illicit substances, making “the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier” according to DEA administrator Anne Milgram.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget told WAVY Wednesday afternoon Xylazine is used as a tranquilizer for horses, livestock and other large animals, but Mexican drug cartels use it as a cheaper binding agent when they load pills with fentanyl to increase their profit margin.

Forget discussed the increased role of social media in the access to deadly opioids, and how even experienced DEA personnel can’t always tell fake loaded pills from legitimate Percocet, Xanax, Oxycontin, and others in our special program, Opioids: What Every Family Needs to Know.

Forget says 6 out of every 10 fake pills seized by his agency last year had deadly amounts of fentanyl, and it’s the leading cause of death for people between 18 and 45. Because Xylazine is not an opioid itself, Narcan does not counteract its effects.

Forget says his agency has seen the combination in 48 of the 50 states, including Virginia.

“We’re seeing it in the Hampton Roads area quite significantly,” he said. “As a matter of fact, since 2021, we’ve seen a dramatic uptick in the amount of Xylazine.”

Last July, a two-year-old died in York County. An autopsy found that the cause of death was the combination of fentanyl and Xylazine. Her parents are set for trial in May on murder charges, and the grandfather is charged with child abuse.

There’s a saying that there are no long-term fentanyl addicts because they all eventually die.
And if that’s not enough to scare you, here’s another reason why “Tranq” should make you run the other way.

“The Xylazine will actually lead to the decomposition of human tissue,” Forget said. “We’ve heard reports from medical professionals that it leads to amputations.”

The DEA advises people to not consume any pills that weren’t prescribed by your doctor and given to you by a pharmacist.